NYC-based designer Rachel Roy has slapped the Jones Group with a $20 million lawsuit for “ruining” her eponymous womenswear label. The Jones Group, which was recently acquired by private equity firm, Sycamore Partners, bought 50% of Roy’s brand in 2008, but cut ties with the designer last month.
According to Roy’s complaint, the Jones Group was “working to eviscerate her brand by abruptly shutting down its operations, firing personnel that run the business, and stonewalling all efforts by Ms. Roy to continue to conduct business.” While Roy maintained creative control of her namesake brand for the duration of her venture with Jones, she claims that Jones conducted business behind her back.
“Jones never informed Ms. Roy before they entered into the agreements, or during the course of the business relationship, that it believed it had the right to sell off Ms. Roy’s brands and trademarks without her consent,” states Roy in her complaint, which was filed this week in Manhattan federal court. Last but certainly not least, Roy claims that Jones tried to sell her brand. The complaint reads: Jones attempted to “unilaterally sell off Ms Roy’s life and work” to Bluestar Alliance, LLC for $14.6 million without her consent. Ouch.
In addition to the $20 million in damages that Roy is seeking for her claims of “breach of contract or fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, business tort, and additional statutory/common law violations”, she is also asking the court to issue “a declaration that Jones has no authority … to sell Trademarks to any third-party” without her approval.
Roy told WWD that she plans to keep producing collections herself, in spite of the split from Jones, which ended their partnership in March, a month after its $1.2 billion acquisition by Sycamore, informing the designer that her collection was not in line with its “overall strategic direction.” Jones maintains a majority stake in various brands, including Stuart Weitzman, B Brian Atwood, and Anne Klein, among others.