Back in January, right before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, Brooklyn-based fashion label Vaquera faced a threatening financial crisis. To the public, all seemed well — stores were placing orders on the latest collections and media outlets shared high acclaim for their recent fashion shows — but behind closed doors, the brand's budgets were stretched to a breaking point. Its lead designers, Patric DiCaprio, Claire Sullivan and Bryn Taubensee were unsure if they would even be able to stage their next runway that February.
Just as the brand's future was looking dim, a last-minute offer gave the Vaquera team a glimmer of hope. Dover Street Market New York asked the designers to show their Fall 2020 collection at its Murray Hill store, where attendees stood around the garment racks and watched each of the looks weave their way through in-store displays.
The makeshift show proved to be a life-saving success, and now, Dover Street Market has established a long-term relationship with Vaquera, signing the design house onto its Paris-based alternative luxury group.
"I've always been interested in them," Adrian Joffe, chief executive officer of Dover Street Market and president of Comme des Garçons International, told The Cut. "We are delighted to welcome them to the family." (DSMP is owned by Comme des Garçons.)
Several emerging brands already folded into the Dover Street Market Paris incubator program — including Paccbet, Youths in Balaclava, Liberal Youth Ministry, and Eli Russell Linnetz and Honey Fucking Dijon — operate under individual business relationships and receive aid in brand development and production.
For Vaquera, DSMP will take care of its international sales and control the majority of its production and distribution; however, the brand will remain fully independent — it's a partnership, not an acquisition.
A lifeline for Vaquera, Dover Street's involvement will allow the brand to flourish once again, and plans for the unveiling of its Spring 2021 collection are already in full swing. Stay tuned.