Audacious Canadian outerwear specialist Moose Knuckles is including extra capital — and administration muscle — to gasoline its worldwide enlargement.
WWD has realized that Victor Luis, the previous chief govt officer of Tapestry Inc. and the architect of its acquisitions drive, has made a “significant investment” within the Montreal-based agency, and can turn out to be its govt chairman.
The measurement of the stake and monetary phrases weren’t disclosed.
With his funding, Luis turn out to be an “operating partner” in Moose Knuckles alongside Paris-based Cathay Capital, the model’s lead institutional investor that quietly took a stake in 2019.
Almost doubling its retail community by including 10 shops earlier than the tip of 2022 are among the many quick initiatives for Luis, who’s to companion with co-chief govt officers Noah Stern and Ayal Twik to speed up international improvement, with a specific emphasis on China.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Victor on our brand’s next chapter,” Stern and Twik mentioned in an announcement. “He has a proven track record of growing brands globally at an unprecedented rate.…We are super proud that we have been able to create one of the fastest-growing fashion brands in the world. Bringing on an executive with Victor’s pedigree will help us hit that higher gear.”
Moose Knuckles mentioned it logged a compound annual development charge nearing 50 p.c from 2015 by to the primary quarter of this yr, with a triple-digit improve in direct-to-consumer gross sales.
The firm operates 11 freestanding shops, together with three in China, and sells its outerwear and attire in 30 nations by luxurious retailers together with Selfridges within the U.Okay., Holt Renfrew in Canada, Saks Fifth Avenue within the U.S., Isetan in Japan and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
Outerwear has been a scorching class for mergers and acquisitions lately, with the likes of Stone Island, Canada Goose, Mackage, JOTT and Kanuk implicated in offers or preliminary public choices.
“Victor is a world-class, visionary leader who brings extraordinary luxury experience on a global basis,” commented Mark Woods and Andre Puong, companions of Cathay Capital. “As Cathay Capital and Moose Knuckles’ incredible founders look to significantly scale the company globally, we believe our partnership with Victor will propel Moose Knuckles further as a top modern luxury outerwear player.”
“Over the medium term, the next milestone should be getting the business to $500 million,” Luis mentioned in an interview this week. “And then over the long term, we want to be the leader in the space. I think we have the opportunity to do that by playing to our product strength, and to our very strong, differentiated consumer proposition.”
An business veteran with international expertise, Luis is finest recognized for remodeling Coach into the multibrand participant Tapestry Inc. after bringing in Stuart Weitzman in 2015 and Kate Spade in 2017. He was seen as an empire builder and a formidable dealmaker, whereas girding Tapestry’s operational foundations because it grew to become a home of manufacturers.
Luis had an extended profession with French luxurious large LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Baccarat earlier than becoming a member of Coach in 2006, initially as president and CEO of Coach Japan.
Since exiting Tapestry in September 2019, Luis grew to become an unbiased director of Farfetch and Deckers Outdoor Corp., father or mother of Ugg, Hoka, Tiva and Sanuk.
A pensive, heat govt with a daring artistic streak, Luis mentioned he’s saved shut tabs on the posh outerwear house for years, one of many fastest-growing classes in attire. He famous “the category is exploding, and we’re growing faster than the category.”
“There’s only a couple of major players. So it’s highly fragmented, with many, many small brands. And Moose Knuckles is really taking a position amongst the leadership pack,” he mentioned, singling out firstly “the technical and true craftsmanship” and “very strong functional heritage” of the Canadian model, which frequently says it was “born on the tundra” however made for the “urban jungle.”
“Moose Knuckles has a very unique fashion angle as well; they’re much more tailored than some outerwear brands: very sleek, very youthful and with an irreverent positioning, which I think makes them a true modern alternative for this new, younger luxury consumer,” he added.
The first job might be increasing the model’s direct-to-consumer distribution by way of net shops and brick-and-mortar boutiques. The lion’s share of recent openings might be in first-tier Chinese cities, but additionally a number of key capitals in Europe and North America, doubtless together with London and Chicago.
Other strategic priorities embrace enhancing Moose Knuckles’ omnichannel capabilities, constructing model consciousness and increasing the product provide. Sportswear and cold-weather equipment had been amongst current additions, and footwear may very well be a future class, Luis famous.
The model not too long ago named a chief service provider, and recruited a former design director from Tom Ford and Burberry as its new head of girls’s put on.
Established in 2009, Moose Knuckles has amassed a world following with its premium-down stuffed coats, leather-based jackets, artisan-crafted bombers and raucous campaigns geared towards fun-loving people. It planted its first flagship retailer in 2017 in Toronto, and handed out weed cookies on the opening to underscore its rebellious mind-set.
The model’s web site and e-store, which opens with a video displaying a various group of cool children dancing in a skate park, describes the Moose tribe as “comprised of rebels, disruptors, party monsters, creators and movers and shakers around the world. We are actively looking for DJs, musicians, chefs, tattoo artists, vandals, skateboarders, stylists, internet rappers, punk bands, Instagram baes, bartenders, comedians, playboys/playgirls, photographers, painters, burners and counter-culture leaders that embody our brand DNA.”
In current years, the corporate has diversified its product providing and pursued an formidable technique of pop-ups to raise its model consciousness. The model is effectively established in North America and elements of Europe, and is now targeted on development in Asia.
The firm has workplaces in Montreal, New York, Milan, London and Shanghai.
Moose Knuckles isn’t Cathay Capital’s solely holding within the sector. Founded in 2007, the non-public fairness agency has made greater than 180 investments in enterprise and digital companies, client merchandise, superior manufacturing, e-commerce, schooling, logistics, well being care and wellness. Its stakes in vogue and sweetness issues embrace Juliette Has a Gun, Geoskincare, Wolf Lingerie, Mauboussin, Dessange Paris — and likewise Italy’s Moncler, which has been dominating the posh outerwear house with its buzzy Genius undertaking. Canada Goose additionally has been rising rapidly within the class.
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