NEW YORK, United States — The partnership between designer Thakoon Panichgul and Bright Fame Fashion — the Hong Kong-based investment vehicle led by Vivian Chou, daughter of billionaire textile mogul Silas Chou — is coming to what both parties are calling a “pause” in order to restructure.
"In the last 10 years, Silas Chou has been building a big investment portfolio, including fashion and tech sectors,” a spokesperson said in a statement. "The Thakoon brand is one of the them. However, we have recognised that the business model is ahead of the current retail environment. Therefore, we are taking a pause and an eventual restructure.”
Panichgul’s spring collection, the first delivery of which was shown at New York Fashion Week in February, will be delivered to the brand's online and Soho stores. No definite timeline has been revealed as to when the physical store or website will close. “It was time for my brand to explore a new business model and this opportunity allowed us to do so,” Panichgul said. "We can now take the learnings from this to apply to the next evolution of Thakoon.”
Thakoon's “designer fashion now” approach — the company's take on a direct-to-consumer, “see now, buy now" business model — targeted some of the key pain points facing fashion retailers today. For one, today's consumers are savvier than ever about price and demand newness on a more frequent basis, something that traditional designer brands, which drop new product every few months, often have difficulty delivering. Thakoon, in which Bright Fame acquired a majority stake in 2015, also strove to avoid the cycle of discounting that afflicts many retailers, offering what it considered designer-level product at significantly lower prices.
But to support its direct-to-consumer strategy, Thakoon was forced to invest significant resources in online marketing in order to familiarise shoppers with the brand. While Panichgul has earned industry accolades, designed a capsule collection with Target and was worn several times by former US First Lady Michelle Obama, his name recognition was relatively low when compared to Chou’s previous fashion investments, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors, which were household names before Chou ever invested.
That said, Chou is insistent that the brand will indeed relaunch once the business is reconfigured. “I still believe in Thakoon’s tremendous design talent and the brand, as well as the strong management team behind this project,” he said in a statement.