Sam ben-avrahim pens open letter to save barneys

by Stephen Garner

Sam Ben-Avrahim is reaching out to the fashion community for one last chance to save Barneys New York from its demise.

The founder of Project and Liberty Fairs (and co-founder of Kith) sent out an open letter on Sunday night to fashion industry insiders outlining his plea as to why his plan to save Barneys needs to happen.

His main bone to pick is with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which he doesn’t name directly in the letter, but references his competitor’s intentions on conducting “mass layoffs and store closures,” which were outlined in ABG’s bid for the bankrupt retailer on Wednesday. The deal is valued at just over $271 million and would avoid a total liquidation of the famed luxury chain, which filed for bankruptcy protection in August. What would happen, if this deal were to be approved, is ABG would buy Barneys’ name and other assets in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ben-Avrahim has a different plan, though. “My team and I believe we can do better,” he wrote in the open letter. “We can do better for the business with our vision: we’ll bring back the brand you’ve come to know and love, and make it commercially viable for the future. We can do better for the broader community of fashion designers, creative professionals and employees. We have a solution that doesn’t involve mass layoffs and store closures. Our team has been working around the clock to save it from a disaster. We will lose an icon — no other retailer but Barneys can claim to be more than just a retailer, but also a cultural protagonist.”

“I am ready to go to work on transforming the business while respecting the integrity of the brand’s core – something other competing bidders as not interested in doing,” he added. “But, I need all the help I can get… By signing this petition, you get us one step closer to ensuring that the corner of Madison & 61st Street continues to inspire people from around the world.”

If no competing bidders come forward by October 22nd, the bankrupt retailer will go ahead with the deal with Authentic Brands and B. Riley Financial. If rival bidders come forward, an auction will be held on October 24th.

Click here to read the full letter and to sign the petition.

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