- Theory (brand)
theory (marketed in
lower-caseletters) is a New York-based men's and women's contemporary better sportswear fashionlabel known for its clean-line and luxuriously simple clothesand accessories. "theory" merchandiseis sold through signature "theory" storesand upscale retailersaround the world. The brandis owned by Link Theory Holdings Co. of Japan.
Origins and Development
Elie Tahari, an Israeli-born US fashionmogul and designer of his own eponymous fashionlabel, and his business partner Andrew Rosen, a "third-generation doyen of the [New York] garment industry" [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E1DD103DF937A35756C0A9629C8B63] , former CEOof Anne Kleinand Calvin Kleinexecutive, founded Theory LLC as a women's fashion label in New York City. Tahari designed the clothes and Rosen was in charge of marketingand sales. Originally intended as a men's sportswear label with a focus on comfortable stretch pants [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb4298/is_199709/ai_n14996832] , the couple started with a women's collection that turned out to be so successful and thus time-consuming that eventually a men's collection was not launched before 1999.
In 2000, a
license agreementwas formed with Link International of Japan, established in 1998, to manufacture, and distribute the brand as well as operate storesunder the "theory" name in Asia, predominantly Japan. The label proved highly successful in the Asian market. Women’s handbagsand shoeswere introduced in 2003, and launched nationally in the US for Spring 2006.
Acquisition by Link International
In September 2003 Link International bought an 89% stake in the "theory"
companyfor $ 100 mio. after Japanese giant textile firm Fast RetailingCo. of Tokyo, established in 1963 and owner of the popular Uniqlo brand, had acquired a 47.1% stakein Link. [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-107454993.html] Mr. Rosen received $ 49 mio, retained the remaining 11 % in the new company, was replaced as CEOby Chikara ‘Ricky’ Sasaki of Link but remained president and COO. Mr. Tahari was allocated $53 mio of the sale and had no shares in the new company which was renamed Theory Holdings. The deal was explained by the fact that the label was to become a truly global brand. The Japanese parent company has since then traded under the name of Link Theory Holdings and went public in 2005.
ignature Style and Designers
Incorporating a more casual
businessstyle, the collections consist of simple, quiet, "uncomplicated and unassuming" suits, coats, shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, sweaters, shoesand accessorieswith clean silhouettes made of fine materials. Even though the clothes"have virtually no profile, in part because they are often intentionally nondescript" and are hence "almost impossible to identify" [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E1DD103DF937A35756C0A9629C8B63] the label still attracts a cult-like following amongst fashion conscious consumers. Retail prices range from about $200 for blouses, shirts and pants to $300 for summer dresses and $500 for blazers, for example.
*The women's design director of "theory" has been Istvan Francer, a former
Donna Karanand Cerruti designer, since 2005. [http://www.cfda.com/index.php?option=com_cfda_content&task=members_display&user_name=IstvanFrancer]
*The men's design director is Ricky Hentry.
*President womenswear is Laura O'Connor.
*President menswear is Chris Manly. [http://boston.com/yourlife/fashion/articles/2006/07/13/designers_slim_down_mens_suits/]
Link Theory Holdings
owner, Link Theory, bought fashion house Helmut Langfrom Prada[http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/fashion/02HELMUT.html] and German fashion label Rosner in 2005. Rosner's European productionand distribution networkis to help expand the "theory" label in the European marketover the next few years.
"theory" is Link Theory's core
brand. Other brands include Helmut Lang, Proof, Rosner, PLS+T and footwear label Jean-Michel Cazabat. For the Japanese market, exclusive sub-labels of the "theory" brand, such as "theory men", "theory luxe", "theory petit" have been created. Link Theory is headquartered in Aoyama, Tokyo.
As of 2008, "theory" maintains 16 signature
retail storesas well as 13 outlet storesin the US. The label is sold at major retailers, such as Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Bloomingdale'sand Nordstrom, as well as Holt Renfrewin Canada. In Europe, signature "theory" stores exists in Athens, Monacoand Paris(opened in March 2007) and showrooms are maintained in Milanand London. [http://www.modemonline.com/fashion/reference/fashion_designers/theory] Moreover, the brand is sold in Europethrough upscale boutiquesand exclusive department stores, such as Printempsin Franceor Harvey Nicholsin the UK. In Asia, numerous "theory" storesare located in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Koreaand Taiwan. In Japan, the companyalso offers price-reduced merchandiseat eight signature outlet stores. The company's web sitelists no storelocations for South America, Africaor Oceania.
The "theory" label's
headquartersand design officesare located in New York City's Meatpacking District, at 40 Gansevoort Street. The buildingalso houses a "theory" flagship store.
In 2006 Tahari sued his former partner Rosen (as well as Link Theory Holdings and Mr. Sakasi) for having urged Tahari to sell "theory" at a price below its value to the Japanese in 2003, seeking
damagesand a sharein the proceeds from the company's IPOin excess of $ 180 mio. Rosen had also said that he would retire from the companywithin a year from the sale when, in fact, after Tahari's departure, he stayed on as the newly established company's president. [http://www.nypost.com/seven/09072006/business/tahari_sues_ex_partner_business_suzanne_kapner.htm] Link Theory called Mr. Tahari's complaint "frivolous claims" [http://www.link-theory.com/resources/3275/20060908IRPR-En.pdf] , Rosen labelled it "seller's remorse" [http://www.nypost.com/seven/06262007/business/split_seams_business_suzanne_kapner.htm] and the case was later dismissed by a New York judge, even denying Tahari's claim for unpaid royalties by "theory"'s then Asian licensee, Link International. [http://vogue.co.uk/vogue_daily/story/story.asp?stid=45693&date=&sid=#]
* [http://www.theory.com/ theory – official web site]
* [http://www.link-theory.com/en_US/company_overview.htm LTH - Link Theory Holdings web site]
* [http://www.phoenixhouse.org/NewYork/WhatsNew/images/fashion/6.gifPicture of Andrew Rosen and Ricky Sasaki]
* [http://www.prada.com/ Prada web site]
* [http://www.helmutlang.com Helmut Lang web site]
* [http://ww2.elietahari.com/about_us/ Elie Tahari web site]
* [http://www.rosner.de/2007_02/01/01_w_e.php Rosner web site]
* [http://www.portfolio.com/views/columns/the-world-according-to/2007/11/06/An-Interview-With-Elie-Tahari?page=0 Portfolio.com: "World according to .. Elie Tahari"]
* [http://search.ft.com/nonFtArticle?id=040831000848 FT.com: "In theory, it's about the word on the street"]
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