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Reed Krakoff's 'message was lost'

FashionBy Sunday World
Reed Krakoff's 'message was lost'

Reed Krakoff's eponymous label didn't have a clear enough message, it has been claimed.

The designer previously headed up Coach, but left in 2013 after 16 years to focus on his own brand. However, earlier this month he announced that production and design on the label had been halted so he could "refocus".

This has led to many industry insiders speculating about what happened, with one claiming it was a simple case of too much too soon.

"He was a bit unconventional launching in every category at once, and it was overwhelming for the market,” Gary Wassner, co-ceo of financial services company the Hilldun Corp. and an advisory board member of the CFDA, told WWD. “He hadn’t built up his clientele and his message wasn’t quite clear... Had he begun with bags, where he is very strong, and built slowly into a full collection, it would have been accepted more readily and he would have built a following.

“It was a timing issue - he needed to ease his way into this market and work from his strengths first and then gradually extend his categories."

It's also suggested that not enough time was put into developing the brand, something which can often taken as long as ten years. This rush was in part because investors wanted to see a return on their input it is claimed, meaning things needed to work at an increased pace. Initially this was OK because the company was still part of Coach, but when Reed went his own way and bought out his company it left him needing to deal with things without a huge brand backing him.

This was said to be one of the reasons why the designer offered so much, with another insider suggesting he would have done better to create a great line of bags initially as that is what he's best known for.

"He spread himself too thin, so the customer and press couldn’t focus because there was just too much. There was a lot of good, but people weren’t able to focus on the strength," the source added to WWD.

This is an idea that Gary agrees with, explaining that had he focused on accessories to begin with he would have found out more about price points and allowed people time to warm to his label.

Many believe the designer's latest move is a good one, as it will give him time to think carefully about the direction his company should go in.

"I have great respect for people who realise they need to recalibrate what they are doing - to stand back, take a look and reassess, as opposed to going down a path that may not be successful for them. It takes a lot to say, ‘This isn’t working as I anticipated it, so let’s look at it a new way and start over again,'" Neiman Marcus' Ken Dowling added.

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