Style Capital Invests In Zimmermann, The Same Label That Was Called Out For Allegations Of Racial Discrimination
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann‘s luxury label Zimmermann has a new investor.
The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has not stopped Style Capital from making a new acquisition.
After a long negotiation, surely slowed down by the coronavirus outbreak last winter, the Milan-based investment fund has agreed to invest in Australian luxury fashion brand Zimmermann.
Details about the transaction, which is excepted to be completed by the end of the year, were not disclosed at the time of this post.
In February, it was first reported that Style Capital was negotiating the acquisition of a 75 percent stake in Zimmermann in an operation valued at about 250 million euros. Zimmermann declined to comment on financial specifics. According to sources, Zimmermann is valued at above 300 million euros.
As part of the transaction, American private equity firm General Atlantic, which acquired a minority stake in the brand in 2016, will exit the Australian company.
With the support of General Atlantic, Zimmermann established an office in New York and significantly expanded its retail presence in both the United States, where the brand operates 13 stores, as well as five European units in Saint-Tropez, Paris, London, Milan and Capri. Additional stores in Cannes and Rome are set to open in 2021.
“We are grateful to General Atlantic for its valuable support as a partner to us over nearly five years, during what has been an exciting and unprecedented phase of growth,” said Zimmermann chief executive officer Chris Olliver. “Despite the recent global challenges, the business has shown great resilience and ensured that we are uniquely positioned for future expansion and success. We look forward to partnering with Style Capital, a successful and like-minded investor, as we build on our long-term vision and our ambitions for the brand.”
Sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann founded the label in their hometown of Sydney in 1991. Zimmermann is one of the most successful Australian fashion brands on the global scene. The company operates 19 stores in its native country. Known for its feminine, joyful creations, spanning from printed dresses enriched with ruffles and lace details to high-end beachwear, Zimmermann was a fixture at New York Fashion Week.
“We are excited to partner with the team at Style Capital as we continue on our journey to build a unique global luxury brand from Australia. For Simone and I, Zimmermann has taken us to places that we never thought possible when we started,” said creative director Nicky Zimmermann. “We live and breathe our brand and love what we do — it’s a privilege to work with so many incredibly creative and talented people each day. We are so excited by what lies ahead and look forward to working collaboratively with our new partners.”
Through this acquisition, Style Capital expands its portfolio of investments in the fashion industry, which includes Forte_Forte, Los Angeles-based company Re/Done and MSGM. In February 2018, the private equity firm, headed by CEO Roberta Benaglia, acquired a 32 percent stake in MSGM, which was founded by creative director Massimo Giorgetti.
“I consider this partnership with Zimmermann a real privilege for Style Capital. In recent years, I have followed the brand’s growth path with admiration, thinking how brave and talented these two Australian sisters have been in taking their luxury vision from Australia to the rest of the world. Our aim is to invest in talented people and their brands,” said Benaglia. “In the case of Zimmermann, we have found a family and team that left us incredibly impressed for their complete dedication to the business and the impeccable quality of execution. Day after day we have seen this chemistry grow and become even stronger. Notwithstanding the difficulties of the pandemic, we have been impressed by the extraordinary strength and resilience of the company’s business model, as well as by the professional approach of the entire team. This partnership is confirmation of the confidence we have in the long-term growth potential of Zimmermann.”
Last summer, D.M. Fashion Book reported that Zimmermann was forced to defend allegations of racial discrimination and a toxic workplace culture (see it here).
The Diet Prada Instagram account leaked an internal beauty guideline memo that had been issued to Zimmermann retail staff and also aired the grievances of “multiple” former interns who claimed to have firsthand experience of anti-black discrimination at the company.
According to the leaked “Grooming & Presentations Standards” document, which featured no black models and, according to Diet Prada, was in circulation until as recently as September 2019, the hair of Zimmermann retail staff must be “soft, textured loose waves, or blow-dried straight,” with “high buns, top knots, plaits, braids” prohibited (see the full article here).
Photos Credit: Zimmermann