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Michelle Siwy Files Suit Against Owners of Former Brand

Denim designer claims that Kris Park, owner of New Crew, reneged on repeated promises to grant her a 32 percent stake in Siwy Denim following the acquisition.

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SIWY SUES: Denim designer Michelle Siwy has filed a lawsuit against the current owners of her former brand, Siwy Denim. Siwy, who cofounded the jeans maker in 2005 with an Ohio-based partner, was dismissed from the company last summer by Los Angeles-based New Crew Production Corp., which acquired financial control of Siwy Denim in 2009. In the suit, Siwy claims that Kris Park, owner of New Crew, reneged on repeated promises to grant her a 32 percent stake in Siwy Denim following the acquisition. The designer is suing for damages in excess of $1 million.

Alain Lafourcade, chief operations officer at Siwy Denim, said the company was still awaiting receipt of the official complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles County’s Superior Court of California on April 3. “As a company policy, we do not comment on pending litigation,” he noted. Last month, Siwy Denim named Jen Neumeister as its new head of design. The brand did volume of close to $13 million in 2012 and expects sales of $16 million this year, with key accounts including Intermix, Ron Herman and American Rag, said Lafourcade.

Since exiting Siwy Denim, Siwy has joined contemporary label Wildfox, launching a new denim range for fall delivery, with retail prices of $178 to $278. The Wildfox brand is sold at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Shopbop.

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