September 2016 will mark an extraordinary month for the fashion industry, because Rachel Roy has announced the re-unveiling of her brand’s designer line, which will debut after a four-season absence. There’s no word yet whether this will include a New York Fashion Week presence, but we’re all hoping for a comeback of epic proportions, and what better stage than Fashion Week?
It’s been quite the wild ride for the designer this past year, ever since Rachel Roy’s former parent company Jones Group shuttered the designer collection, which had been 10-years-old at the time, last March. This occurred right before Jones Group was acquired by Sycamore Partners. Following the acquirement, all of Roy’s trademarks were sold to Bluestar Alliance, without the permission of the designer. Naturally, she sued, and was thence able to prevent the sale. A majority stake of the business was then sold to the Los Angeles based Topson Downs, which is where Roy’s brand is now situated.
Roy had been based in New York for 20 years, so this change must have been a difficult one for the designer. But above all, she kept an open and positive mind, even through the most trying times. “Everything does happen for a reason,” she told WWD. “I met my partners (at Topson Downs) in California and I don’t know if I would’ve met them had I not moved.”
The specific partners Roy is referring to is Denise Johnston, now president, and CEO Daniel Abramovitch. It was through this collaboration that the designer was able to gather the proper momentum to restructure her brand. And with the way 2015 went, it looks as if it will be a full-scale recovery by the projected month in 2016.
Rachel Roy and Topson Downs have been able to focus on the expansion of Rachel Rachel Roy, a lower-priced line, which had been sold exclusively in Macy’s department stores for the past seven years. They are adding a “Curvy Collection,” which will launch in February. But Roy is also planning to expand into the jewelry, swimwear, and home markets, which will be an aspect for springtime. Aside from the design itself, “Design Your Life,” Roy’s book, will be published in March by Dey Street Books.
This multitude of confirmations shows that the retail side of her business is right where it should be, which brings us full circle to September 2016, when the designer collection will be relaunched. There are no plans for an overhaul of her design aesthetic, it will just be a matter of reintegrating into the industry. Her mentality is tuned the same way it was before the brand was shuttered.
“It was created as a need that I had to look the same way at eight in the morning and eight at night,” she told WWD. “Basically, it’s for working women. If you’re not working, then it’s for women who have very full lives.”
It seems Roy was able to successfully move past the debacle this past year, and is now making that climb back to the top. She has also reestablished her New York presence in April, with the opening of a new office and showroom, and three months later expanded her Rachel Rachel Roy line, now to include dresses sold at Lord & Taylor and Von Maur. So, despite the disastrous turn of events 2014 had for the designer, 2015 proved to be a very fruitful year. And she has everything she needs to move forward into 2016 as well, it seems.
“I have a brand, I have a president, I have partners that have a shared vision,” Roy said. “The difference here is that we will have creative control over everything. One hundred percent.”
Photo courtesy of WWD