NEW YORK, Aug. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- History was made this week for the American footwear industry. For the first time in 27 years, award winning designer Donald J. Pliner launched two new collections outside of the eponymous brand he founded in 1989, DONALD J PLINER™. And, apparently, the new private equity owners of the brand are anything but pleased. At the start of Fashion Week and the FFANY show, one of the biggest wholesale footwear shows of the year next to Las Vegas' FN PLATFORM, DJP Holdings, LLC, who currently controls his namesake brand, filed a lawsuit against Donald and his wife Lisa Pliner, trying to keep them from proceeding with his new collections, From the Mountains of Italy and From the Beaches of Spain, Femme & Homme.
In 2011, designer Donald J. Pliner sold a majority stake in his namesake brand to a private equity firm, Castanea Partners. At the time the new partners recognized that his "talents and abilities" were "unique" and that they were "integral to the success of the company." After the sale, Pliner remained as Creative Director for the brand. In the following years, it became apparent that the new majority partners and the newly appointed management had a different vision for the brand than its founder.
Last year, designer Donald J. Pliner stepped down from his eponymous brand as Creative Director when he realized that he could no longer identify with the direction the brand was taking. "It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that I have decided to leave the company I founded," said designer Donald J. Pliner in a 2015 statement, announcing his departure.
Regarding the new legal action initiated against him by the owners of the namesake brand he founded, designer Donald J. Pliner says:
"I am sad and disappointed by this news. In an effort not to publicly harm the brand and the value of the company I founded and in which I hold a minority interest, I did not seek a public confrontation. Instead, I fully complied with my contract obligations after the one-year non-compete period. I just launched two new collections meant to present my vision, craftsmanship, and personalized attention to the public. The only explanation I have is that this must be a misguided attempt to prevent the launch of my new collections. I am delighted to return to my passion of designing, and feel the same joy and excitement for my two new collections that I felt 27 years ago when I founded a brand I believed in. With all of my heart, I want to thank my wife Lisa, daughter Starr (can you believe she just turned 12), my family, my friends, my team, my longstanding buyers who have expressed their support and encouragement, and most of all - my fans for all of your excitement and warm reception. You keep me young and keep my passion alive. In my heart, I am hopeful that Donald J Pliner™ (the brand) and the designer Donald J. Pliner can find a way to co-exist and be one again."
Designer Donald J. Pliner is no longer actively associated nor designs for the brand "DONALD J PLINER™."
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SOURCE Donald J. Pliner