Fashion designer Jason Wu, who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama and served as an artistic director for Hugo Boss, has sold a majority stake in his eponymous company to the recently formed investment group InterLuxe.
InterLuxe is a partnership between US private equity tycoon Thomas H Lee’s Lee Equity Partners and fashion industry veterans, Allen Questrom (the former CEO of Neiman Marcus and Barney’s New York), Gary Wassner (an adviser and investor for emerging fashion brands for 35 years), and Melissa Beste (a former president of Alexander McQueen).
“Jason Wu represents the next generation of great American designers. He has shown impressive design versatility and success across a range of styles and price points, including his high-end collection line, lower-price limited-time collaborations with Nordstrom and Target, and more recently a revitalized womenswear line for Hugo Boss. Jason has a very bright future ahead of him, and Lee Equity and InterLuxe feel fortunate to have the opportunity to support and participate in his continued growth and success,” Questrom said.
Jason Wu is the first of many investments in fashion brands for InterLuxe, which plans to acquire two or three more fashion companies in the near future, according to Want China Times. The company has said that Alexander Wang is another of its targets.
With the acquisition of Jason Wu, InterLuxe plans to heavily market the brand in China and the rest of Asia. The first step of the plan is the introduction of the sub-label Miss Wu, a casual wear brand that will sell for 1,000-2,000 yuan (US$165-325), much lower than the US$3,000-10,000 of Jason Wu’s designer outfits.
The company estimates that sales in China could account for 20 percent of all Jason Wu sales within the next three to five years, according to Christine Lu, Lee Equity’s director for Asia.
In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Wu said of the partnership, “I feel great that I can just have the support to really be able to concentrate on what I signed up to do really from Day One, [which] was to design and to create and to run a successful fashion business….It just means I have more expertise and support around me to be able to do what I do better.”
According to Fashionista, Wu will use the investment to open a new flagship store in New York City and expand his handbag and e-commerce business.
image credit: jason wu