Rumor has it that Dries Van Noten may be up for sale. At the very least, they seem to be seeking outside investment. Multiple sources reportedly told WWD that Van Noten recently hired Elsa Berry’s Vendôme Global Partners to bring in a new investor. Although representatives for Van Noten and Berry have yet to comment, a book detailing Dries Van Noten’s operations has apparently been circulating among multibrand fashion groups and private equity firms in recent weeks.
Van Noten founded his company in 1986 and managed to grow it into an estimated $100 million business in the 32 years since. Unlike most similarly prosperous brands, Dries Van Noten’s success is built almost entirely on wholesale distribution and ready-to-wear sales for men and women. The company doesn’t have a widely-available fragrance. There are no Dries Van Noten “it” bags. They don’t advertise. They rarely dress celebrities. And they don’t put out pre-collections.
“Our business doesn’t have to grow every year a huge amount like when you are a part of a big group,” Van Noten told WWD in 2013. “I don’t need to have a store in every city. It’s a luxury that I can say I just want to continue the way that we are doing…to be creative and be busy with things I really love and not be forced to do all the bags and the shoes and the sunglasses and things like that.”
Ironically, these are probably exactly the kinds of things an outside investor will expect Van Noten to do moving forward. Beauty and handbags have long been the keys to growth within the fashion industry. The fact that Van Noten has managed to hold out this long and still grow his business to the extent that he has is impressive, but there is little chance that any serious injection of cash won’t come with expectations that the company fall in line with more traditional revenue models moving forward.
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest fashion news and juicy industry gossip.