Joe Ouaknine, CEO of the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based footwear company, said he has ended his long-standing license with the brand after reaching a loggerhead with Bebe executives about the creative direction of the shoe line. Two-and-a-half years remained on the existing licensing agreement, but Ouaknine said the time was right to separate from the label.
“It was very difficult for us to achieve our goals, and we decided to cut our losses and requested the breakage of the contract,” said Ouaknine. “We had creative differences. We initiated [the separation], but ultimately it was mutually agreed upon.”
Ouaknine said fall product would still deliver to retailers who had already placed orders.
Attempts to reach Bebe’s director of licensing were unsuccessful.
In other news, Ouaknine, independently from Titan, has formed a joint venture with Silver Dagger CEO Serge Abecassis (who is also Ouaknine’s cousin) to produce a line of men’s shoes under a license from Bugatchi Uomo. The newly formed company, Prodigy Brands, will launch the footwear at the upcoming FFANY show.
“Bugatchi is a big resource at Nordstrom for men’s shirts,” Ouaknine said. “This will be my first attempt at men’s ever.”
Under the terms of the venture, Ouaknine will oversee product development and manufacturing, while Abecassis will handle design, sales, warehousing and billing.
The line, which is slated for a spring ’13 debut, will retail from $125 to $275.
“We’re covering dress, casual and fashion sneakers,” Abecassis said. “It’s really going to be a complete men’s shoe collection.”