Essentiel Antwerp pulls the plug on menswear, names commercial director
Esfan Eghtessadi, creative director and cofounder of Essentiel Antwerp, was honest about the disproportion between the brand’s successful womenswear line and the weaker menswear range in an interview in spring 2018, as he announced a strategic redefinition. The efforts seem to have failed, as the brand announced this week that it will discontinue the menswear range.
The upcoming autumn/ winter collection will be the last to include a menswear offer, ending a 15-year career in the menswear segment. Founded in 1999 as a ready-to-wear label for women, the premium business and its founders branched into menswear five years later. Explaining the decision to phase out menswear, Essentiel Antwerp cited the difficulties of exporting the line outside Belgium. The move will also allow the brand to focus solely on its more successful womenswear range, which continues to grow globally.
Of the brand’s 50 stores worldwide, only a handful are dedicated exclusively to menswear and these will close their doors at the end of the season in Antwerp and Knokke. Any remaining shops carrying menswear will evolve into a 100% womenswear format in early 2020.
This is part of a strategy aimed at making the brand more attractive to investors, with founders actively looking for a new partner to support an international expansion. Among others, the measures have included a significant investment in women’s footwear. “Essentiel Antwerp will ensure the growth and success of the brand by continuing to surprise with new projects that will land in the coming months,” it said.
The new projects will be led by a new manager. Gérald Didnik, who was its commercial director, left the company and was recently succeeded by Thibaut Van Der Elst, who was previously at G-Star, and Sessùn.
With annual revenues of 57 million euros, Essentiel has recently opened new stores in Le Touquet, London and Dusseldorf.
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