Onward Kashiyama, the Japanese conglomerate that owns Jil Sander, Joseph and J. Press, is talking to the London-based footwear and accessories brand Charlotte Olympia about a strategic partnership, according to industry sources.
One source said production of Charlotte Olympia shoes has already moved to the Onward-owned Iris footwear factory in Italy’s Veneto region. Both Onward and Charlotte Olympia declined to comment.
Onward’s interest in Charlotte Olympia is not surprising: The company has expertise both in brand management and in the licensed production of footwear and apparel. Charlotte Olympia, meanwhile, has been looking for strategic investors.
The small, self-funded British footwear and accessories brand has built its business on quirky, extravagant footwear with a glamorous, nostalgic feel. The brand has 10 stand-alone stores and shop-in-shops worldwide, with wholesale accounts at retailers including Harrods, Selfridges and Net-a-porter.
Many of its designs have become collectors’ items, and the brand has collaborated with companies including Havaianas, Agent Provocateur, Barbie, MAC and Globetrotter. Last year, it began staging runway shows during London Fashion Week.
The company was launched by Charlotte Olympia Dellal in 2008 and is run by Jimmy Choo and Halston veteran Bonnie Takhar. In 2015, Dellal won the 2015 Accessory Designer prize at the British Fashion Awards.
In an interview last year, the company said growth opportunities would come from retail, wholesale and e-commerce, as well as expansion in Western Europe.