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Exclusive: Self-Portrait Founder Acquires Roland Mouret

Designer Han Chong is looking to build his own fashion group.
Roland Mouret and models on the runway  showcasing the designer's Spring/Summer 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week.
Roland Mouret and models on the runway showcasing the designer's Spring/Summer 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week. (Getty Images)
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Self-Portrait founder Han Chong has acquired luxury label Roland Mouret out of administration, in a move designed to establish a new fashion group under the name SP Collection.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it comes amid a wave of consolidation in the fashion market as an increasingly volatile and competitive landscape has made struggling brands attractive targets for businesses looking to diversify revenue streams and expand into new categories.

Italian fashion group OTB, which acquired Jil Sander in March, and brand incubator Tomorrow, which took a majority stake in menswear designer Martine Rose in October, have joined luxury giants and fast fashion upstarts in the race to snap up smaller businesses and leverage greater economies of scale.

Chong described SP Collection as a “natural next step” in a press release Monday. The goal of the group is to establish a platform that can discover, nurture and develop best-in-class creativity and design, he said.

The acquisition of Roland Mouret brings a well-established brand with a strong following to the new group. The luxury label is known for its figure-hugging “Galaxy” dresses sported by Victoria Beckham and the Duchess of Cambridge. Ahead of the pandemic, the brand was in the middle of a turnaround, with profits climbing to £950,000 ($1.3 million) on sales of £16 million, up from almost £2.5 million in losses in 2018, according to filings with the UK’s Companies House.

But then, Covid-19 hit. Demand for occasionwear plummeted and tourism to its key London outpost halted. Administrators and movers were reportedly spotted vacating the London boutique in November.

Chong is hoping to successfully leverage Mouret’s creative legacy with the support of a stronger business infrastructure to reach and engage with global shoppers.

The Malaysian-born designer made his name with Self-Portrait, which launched in east London in 2013. The brand rode the Instagram wave to success, investing early in celebrity and influencer marketing.

In 2019, Chinese fashion group Ellassay poured 30 million yuan (around $4.5 million) into a joint venture that has funded Self-Portrait’s rapid expansion in China, the world’s biggest fashion market.

The brand says sales grew 60 percent year-on-year in 2021, and expects them to more than double in 2022.

SP Collection marks the next phase of Chong’s growth ambitions as he seeks to compete in an increasingly complicated and competitive market.

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The State of Fashion: Technology