Dear departed Sonia Rykiel’s eponymous fashion house is undergoing some major shakeups, described by Sonia Rykiel’s headquarters as needed in order to strategically concentrate on Rykiel’s original fashion line. It has, in fact, been confirmed that the French mansion is in the process of shuttering its diffusion line – Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, often dubbed by many as Sonia Rykiel’s trendier sister line.
Needless to say, Sonia Rykiel’s radical restructuring is one of the fashion industry’s current trending topics, with many journalists and experts trying to figure out what actually happened behind the curtains, as well as predict the label’s future. Although very little is known regarding the issue, some official information is already spreading around the Internet.
Sonia Rykiel’s CEO Eric Langon contacted WWD to explain the situation, especially due to the fact that the shuttering of Sonia Rykiel’s diffusion line is de facto leaving 79 staff members jobless. According to Langon, the diffusion line’s 3% growth in the last year was “not sufficient today to guarantee sustainable growth for the house and its activities in the years to come”, especially taken the decreasing sales caused by the impact of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.
“It is essential for the house to rethink and revitalise itself,” he explained, also blaming “unfavourable” global fashion market conditions for the label’s economic hard times in the industry.
Founded in 1968, Chinese investment fund Fung Brands took an imposing 80% capital stake from the label four year ago, taking complete control over it earlier this year. Sources close to the fashion house are already claiming that the Fung Brands’ investment fund has given Sonia Rykiel three years to return to profit and, although yet to be confirmed, the news is already affecting some of the flame-haired Knitwear Queen’s fans (especially those who live in the USA, where the house has experienced consistent increasing sales).
Although uncertain, Sonia Rykiel’s future is, in fact, a matter of concern for many, both inside and outside of the industry. Aside from losing 79 of its 330 staff members, shuttering both the secondary and children’s lines, and closing four of its standalone stores, Rykiel’s shakeup will inevitably influence all of those labels that are currently undergoing a similar turmoil.
Given the fact that Sonia Rykiel is one of France’s leading fashion houses and sources of inspiration for the fashion industry, its uncertain future appears even scarier.
As for what concerns Sonia Rykiel’s creative director Julie de Libran, her willingness to fully celebrate and concentrate on Rykiel’s legacy appears clear (as proven by her latest Sonia Rykiel spring 2017 runway show, where she paid tribute to the brand’s founder, spelling out her name on the catwalk), and we hope this will be the right and successful strategy to revamp the house’s mainline.
Photo courtesy of Livingly