Chinese investment firm Green Harbor has purchased a controlling stake in JWU, the parent company to the Jason Wu brand.
The firm announced the deal with JWU on its WeChat page, calling Jason Wu “the world’s top Chinese women’s designer” and praising his rise to prominence on the backs of well-heeled celebrities and public figures. No further details about the value of the deal were released.
The New York-based Jason Wu label has been keen to break into the Chinese luxury market, having sold an 11 percent stake to Zhejiang Semir Garment Co. last year for $5 million.
The acquisition represents Green Harbor’s first foray into fashion. The Shenzen-based firm has investments in businesses relating to education, healthcare and financial services, as well as some companies in the retail sector. Jason Wu is the first American company the firm has backed, with many of the others being Chinese-owned.
Green Harbor purchased its stake from InterLuxe, an American investment firm with investments in A.L.C. and, previously, Cushnie.
“Just like the growth trajectory of all the world’s leading luxury brands, Jason Wu is certainly not only satisfied with staying in the U.S. market, but the Chinese market with great potential is also the focus of its strategic development,” Green Harbor said in its announcement. The firm added that the alliance will help “create a new generation of fashion brand benchmarks, open up global markets and achieve greater commercial success.”
Jason Wu’s meteoric rise took place largely after the designer dressed First Lady Michelle Obama in a now-iconic ivory chiffon gown at President Barack Obama’s first inaugural ball just two years after he founded his namesake label. Green Harbor emphasized the relationship between Wu and Obama in its statement, noting that the designer dressed her at least three times for “internationally important occasions.”
The Taiwanese-Canadian designer’s wares are mostly manufactured in New York, using custom-developed fabrics milled in France and Italy, according to the brand’s website. Wu characterizes his aesthetic as a combination of “classic American sportswear elements” and “a refined couture sensibility.”