Brian Atwood, the revered shoe designer, has teamed up with Steve Madden Ltd, to buy back the intellectual property rights of his namesake line from The Jones Group in a transaction facilitated by Bluestar Alliance LLC.
These rights include the intellectual property assets of the Brian Atwood® designer collection and the B Brian Atwood® contemporary collection. The acquisition was spurred by reports that the Jones Group was considering a sale of the brand, following the closing of its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. This acquisition comes hot on the heels of the closure of Rachel Roy’s namesake designer collection, also owned by The Jones Group, who has recently been trying to sell its underperforming brands as the group is being overtaken by private equity firm, Sycamore Partners.
This acquisition is a strategic move for both partners. Brian Atwood’s collection has always been known as producing beautiful shoes and is in fact greatly loved by celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe, but it has never quite reached the global impact that many shoe lines, such as Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo have. This partnership with Steve Madden will give it the resources and tools to take the brand to the next level. For Steve Madden, this will allow him to reach a new, more high fashion target market that his brands, Steve Madden, Madden Girl, and Steven by Steve Madden, have never been able to reach.
It will also be interesting to see how the association with Brian Atwood will affect Steve Madden’s design aesthetic and shoes that it produces. Steve Madden has been the subject of intellectual property infringement suits in the past, most notably brought by Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga.
Alexander McQueen v. Steve Madden Balenciaga v. Steve Madden
Partnering with a brand such as Brian Atwood that is known for its innovativeness and is revered as a luxury brand, could persuade the designers at Steve Madden to be more creative in its designs and perhaps not repackage the designs of luxury brands.
However, if Steve Madden does not step up to this challenge, this partnership could affect Brian Atwood’s brand negatively. The fashion industry does not take kindly to infringement and if a designer associates itself with a brand who infringes other designers’ work product, it could affect that designer’s credibility and reputation.
Personally, I think it will be a great move for both brands. Like I said, the Brian Atwood collections have always produced beautiful shoes that are rather sexy yet elegant, but they have never achieved the fame of other luxury brands. Perhaps being associated with a brand who’s name is well known throughout the world will give Brian Atwood what he needs for his brands to reach their full potential as footwear powerhouses.
For Steve Madden, I think it is an incredibly smart move because being associated with Brian Atwood can give him the leverage to be seen as a legitimate high end brand who not only caters to the teens of this world who need that perfect shoe for prom, but also to the professional women of the world who need that perfect shoe for their date night. This can take his brand, specifically Steven by Steve Madden which is a little bit more luxury than the others, to the next level and be seen as a luxury good in the eyes of the fashion industry.
Brian Atwood will transition from The Jones Group to Steve Madden Ltd. for Spring 2015 deliveries. It will be interesting to see how this partnership plays out and how it affects each brand.
“Steve Madden Teams to Buy Brian Atwood“, Women’s Wear Daily
“Steve Madden Acquires Brian Atwood“, Fashionista.com
“Brian Atwood Buys Back His Business And Enters Into A Strategic Partnership With Steve Madden“, Businesswire.com
Brian Atwood heels via brianatwood.com