Diesel subsidiary Staff International announced today its investment in the emerging label of much-lauded London-based Greek designer Sophia Kokosalaki. With only £350k in annual revenue, Kokosalaki's business is not huge, but Renzo Rosso, CEO of Diesel, has clearly seen potential in her work and has stepped up to help take the brand to the next level.
This is excellent news for Kokosalaki in what should be a banner year for the young designer whose debut collection for the House of Vionnet will bow in Paris this season. The much-vaunted comeback for Vionnet is expected to be gracefully executed by Kokosalaki whose trademark draping dovetail's nicely with Vionnet's heritage and her famous bias-cut.
More young designers should look for partnerships like the one that Kokosalaki has concluded with Mr Rosso. Through Diesel's subsidiary, Staff International, which also works with other emerging brands like DSquared2 and Maison Martin Margiela , Kokosalaki has found not only the investment capital to grow her business, but more importantly, a skilled partner who can add value to the business through connections, experience and expertise. Furthermore, due to Mr. Rosso's experience with working with other young designers and his clear appreciation for creativity, Kokosalaki is likely to maintain the creative freedom and autonomy that she needs to continue to develop her unique signature.
It will be interesting to see how successfully Kokosalaki will split her time and her creative energy between her eponymous collection and the Vionnet collection. Will she be able to carve out a unique identity and aesthetic for both collections? That remains to be seen.
Up until now, Kokosalaki, like many young designers, has relied on one-off consultancies and brand building activities. She did a small capsule collection for Nine West in the USA - you can learn more about it in this video.
[photo from Sophia Kokosalaki S/S 2007, from WWD]