NEW YORK – Arnold Brant Silverstone will leave the label he founded ten years ago, Arnold Brant, and the company he sold it to two years ago, Oxford Industries, later this month.
Silverstone will maintain a financial interest in the business and will be available to consult with Oxford on a regular basis, but day-to-day responsibility for the division, which is part of Oxford’s Lanier unit, will be passed to Craig Lickliter, vice president of the Arnold Brant division. Lickliter continues to report to James Tuman, president of Lanier.
“We’re going to maintain the status quo with this business completely,” Tuman told MRketplace.com. “In the two years we’ve been together, we’ve put a strong team in place that can move the brand forward. We’ve distributed Arnie’s responsibilities among several people within the business, including Francesco Michalacci in the design area.
“I’m disappointed that Arnie won’t be with us after June 16,” Tuman continued. “He’s the inspiration behind the business, but we’ve talked with our customers and employees and there’s no question that we will be moving forward.”
Silverstone, 40, told MRketplace.com that, outside of taking the summer off and advising Atlanta-based Oxford when needed, he has no immediate plans. “I’ve worked straight through since I got out of university,” he said. “I still get a real high from it and I want to stay active in the industry.”
He likened his situation to that of his mentor, Michael Setola, who resigned as president of Oxford in January after a three-year stint. When asked if he’d be talking to Setola in the next few weeks, he responded with a chuckle: “Only on a personal level.”
Neither Tuman nor Silverstone would comment on Silverstone’s contractual obligations with Oxford, such as whether he has non-compete provisions to contend with or whether the expiration of an employment agreement might have contributed to his decision to leave. Silverstone reiterated that he has a financial interest in his brand and wants to see it succeed.
“This has been a terrific experience and a very exciting time for me,” the designer said. “My interest in this brand isn’t just financial, but it’s emotional too. It’s important to me that it succeed, and I’ll do what I can to help during the transition and beyond that.”
He also said that there is no ill will in his separation from Oxford: “I’m leaving with the highest regard for Oxford and its people.”
In a prepared statement, J. Hicks Lanier, chairman and chief executive officer of Oxford, said, “Arnie is a talented and creative designer who has done a terrific job of overseeing and cultivating the image and essence of the Arnold Brant-brand at Oxford since we purchased it in 2005. With Arnie’s inspiration, the line will continue to define modern luxury for the tailored clothing space.”
Tuman noted that Arnold Brant is represented in several hundred doors in the US and Canada, including Nordstrom, Harry Rosen and Saks Fifth Avenue. The business is dominated by high-end tailored clothing.
Oxford purchased the Montreal-based Arnold Brant business for undisclosed terms in October 2005. Since the closure of its Canadian tailored clothing plant last year, it has sourced its manufacturing through Oxford’s global sourcing apparatus.