Since 1956, vision, ingenuity and the drive to succeed have forged the way ahead at GIII.
G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (“GIII”) traces its roots back to a humble beginning in 1956, when Aron Goldfarb, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to the United States and established his own outerwear company in the heart of New York City’s Garment District.
As early as 1972, GIII began to diversify its offerings, when Morris Goldfarb, current Chief Executive Officer and son of its founder, joined GIII. Morris introduced an entrepreneurial spirit to GIII, which has propelled the company for more than 45 years. Almost immediately, GIII expanded its global sourcing and manufacturing capabilities.
By 1981, GIII launched Siena Leather Limited, an aspirational luxury leather sportswear company that catered to luxury department stores.
In 1989, GIII became publicly traded and began intensifying its expansion efforts.
The early 1990’s saw an intense period of rapid growth for the company, as it worked to expand its outerwear expertise beyond leather, encompassing all fabrications. In addition to launching a textile outerwear collection, GIII began manufacturing mens outerwear for the first time, under the Colebrook & Co. label. With a strong hold on the outerwear market under its proprietary labels, GIII attracted the attention of a diverse range of global powerhouse brands. GIII signed its first license with the National Football League, producing team logo outerwear. The home-grown outerwear powerhouse became “mainstream,” and embraced its newest role as the “machine” behind volume-driven sports lifestyle fashion apparel. It didn’t take long for the rest of the professional and collegiate sports world to take notice. GIII soon became the licensee for the National Basketball Association, National Hockey Association, Major League Baseball and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The alliances ignited a sense of belonging and allowed GII to connect to a wider world. The GIII team quickly recognized the consumer’s preference for name brands. Drawing upon its strengths and unique position in the industry, GIII joined forces with iconic, nationally recognized brands such as Kenneth Cole, Nine West, and Cole Haan and Jones New York to produce branded outerwear under license agreements. Through these partnerships, GIII altered the landscape of how outerwear was marketed and sold at US department stores.
In July 2005, GIII acquired Marvin Richards and Winlit. These acquisitions brought the Calvin Klein and Guess brands into the GIII portfolio. GIII was able to consolidate with two of its largest competitors and set the stage for transformation, undergoing a significant expansion of management, merchandising, manufacturing and design expertise. GIII led with what it did best – mens and womens outerwear – and solidified its position as a leader in outerwear. Due to the company’s ability to identify growth opportunities, along with its nimble resources, Calvin Klein called upon GIII to expand the license to include women’s dresses, suits, sportswear, performance wear, handbags, luggage and cold weather accessories. GIII has since become the largest licensee for the Calvin Klein brand.
By 2007, GIII’s dress business had gained vigorous momentum, with the addition of the Jessica Howard and Eliza J brands to its portfolio. GIII became the authority in dresses, adding another area of expertise to its core. By 2011, GIII was manufacturing and distributing dresses under the Andrew Marc, Calvin Klein, Eliza J, Guess, Jessica Howard, Kensie, Marc New York and Vince Camuto brands. GIII is currently one of the most dominant dress manufacturers in the United States.
In February 2008, GIII purchased Andrew Marc – a nationally recognized aspirational luxury outerwear brand – and national retail chain Wilsons Leather. GIII developed Andrew Marc into a meaningful lifestyle brand, and as a result, became a licensor for the first time. The acquisition of Wilsons Leather catapulted the company into the retail space, diversifying its portfolio once again.
Continuing its diversification efforts, GIII sought to broaden the company’s reach in critical areas. In August 2012, GIII acquired Vilebrequin, a luxury swim brand located in France. Vilebrequin sells its products through a large network of company owned and franchised specialty retail stores and boutiques, as well as through select wholesale distribution. This addition provides GIII with a new core competency and a robust global retail network.
The Company begins to accelerate its position as a brand owner, drawing upon its 50+ years of experience uniting and leveraging all aspects of the business – from manufacturer, to licensee, to owner/licensor, to retailer.
In November 2013, GIII purchased G.H. Bass & Co., a timeless heritage brand with over 140 years of footwear expertise. As the pioneer of the penny loafer, G.H. Bass & Co. introduced the world to the very first penny loafer – the brand’s iconic Weejuns – in 1936. Along with a hard-won, century and a half reputation of quality, comfort and durability, the company once again applies its expertise, innovative thinking and best practice to take advantage of another industry…footwear.
In June 2015, GIII entered into a joint venture with Karl Lagerfeld Group, to design, manufacture and distribute apparel, footwear and accessories under the Karl Lagerfeld Paris label in the United States, Canada and Mexico. GIII poised itself to launch the iconic designer’s namesake brand to a new generation of consumers, with its scale and unparalleled value-added approach to new categories. In addition to the company’s interest in the joint venture, GIII also becomes the first licensee for womens and mens outerwear, sportswear and footwear, as well as womens handbags and accessories. This strategic alliance awards GIII another iconic, global luxury brand to add to its portfolio.
In December 2016, GIII entered into a purchase agreement with LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Louis Inc.) for Donna Karan International Inc., including the Donna Karan and DKNY brands. The acquisition of DKI Inc. fit squarely into GIII’s strategy of diversification and expansion. GIII is focused on developing the DKNY brand, while also re-establishing its other associated brands. Consistent with its strong 60+ year track record of driving organic growth and identifying opportunities to grow untapped global licensing potential, the Donna Karan brand is especially appealing.
Within the GIII portfolio lies its greatest asset – it’s PEOPLE. An entrepreneurial spirit flows throughout the organization, empowering employees to think creatively and capitalize on both proven and untapped resources. The company’s leadership has been essential in driving its diversification efforts, and has enabled it to change its business model from being solely an outerwear producer to becoming a diversified global leader in the fashion industry. Starting from the bottom up with passion, agility and precision has enabled GIII to take top-down approach, relying on its rich heritage and expertise – where the little things mean everything.
Today, GIII is proud to have a comprehensive portfolio of over 30 licensed and proprietary brands, approaching $3 Billion in sales. Still located in the heart of New York City’s Garment District, GIII’s goals for the future are consistent with its storied past…produce great products that enable it to reach a broad spectrum of consumers; partner with nationally recognized brands to appeal to a brand conscious apparel market; and, perhaps most importantly, engage the entrepreneurial spirit that got it here by constantly seeking attractive new licenses and acquisitions to expand its reach and abilities.