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Christian Cowan Talks Business, Brand Expansion Plans & Launching Footwear

While his namesake brand is rooted in camp, glamour and extravagance, Christian Cowan has serious aspirations for his brand, with hopes of fostering it into a lifestyle label close to likes of Versace, he said.

At 28 years old, Cowan is not only creative director but CEO of the company, which is in expansion mode.

In January, the designer launched the Essentials line. In March, he opened the doors of his first flagship in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. It’s part of an ongoing, pop-up retail strategy where Cowan’s aim is to move to different cities, with Las Vegas being next on his list. And most recently, in August, Cowan announced that he’d officially expanded into a four-season fashion calendar, marked by the debut of his first resort collection.

“I matured a lot during the pandemic as a businessperson. Because for the first time, I wasn’t caught up in the day-to-day hustle. I had time to sit and be like, ‘What’s actually working for us? What isn’t,’” he said.

Christian Cowan, Crocs
Christian Cowan models his Crocs collab.
CREDIT: Kimber Capriotti

Up until this year, the company was self-funded. Cowan has since found a minority investment, he said. “It goes back to what changed over the pandemic, in terms of my perspective, — thank gosh we have diverse revenue streams. We don’t just make money from selling to wholesalers,” added Cowan, noting that his DTC business makes up the majority. Partnerships, such as the one with Crocs, are also key to business.

Wholesale still remains important, but Cowan is becoming more intentional with his partners — Saks Fifth Avenue being one of them.

“I’m not interested in having three pieces on a rail at a department store. It’s really about [finding] strong partners who place big orders and promote us on their channel,” he said.

Anna Irving, SVP, GMM Women’s Designer Ready to Wear, Saks, added, “Christian is always surprising us with what he comes up with next. He embraces maximal fashion and never compromises his point of view. His ability to dress powerful women and produce commercial collaborations with a range of brands show his promise of becoming a household name.”

In addition, Cowan is growing into the shoe world further with the launch of his own line, expected to debut early next year. Some of the prototypes, including feather green and pink boots and ankle-strap metallic platforms, could be previewed during his spring ’23 runway show.

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