Costume National founder steps down after brand takeover

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MILAN (AP) — Costume National creative director Ennio Capasa says a growing conflict in the fashion industry between marketing and innovation fueled his decision to step down from the brand he founded with his brother in 1986.

Capasa and his brother, Carlo Capasa, who was Costume National's CEO and is the president of Italy's National Fashion Chamber, announced their surprise departure this week following the takeover of the brand by its Japanese partner, Seguedge, which has been a minority stakeholder since 2009.

Ennio Capasa told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the globalization of fashion has pushed the industry more toward meeting demand, rather than creating demand through innovation.

"A vision that is only pleasing the market destroys business. It loses innovation. It becomes like selling detergent or a product to wash your hands. That is not fashion," Capasa said.

Asked if this conflict contributed to his decision to step down, Capasa said, "maybe a little, yes."

"It is clear there is a conflict between the funds that invest and a little bit the creativity of the designer," he said.

There was no hint of an impending transition during the most recent runway show during Milan Fashion Week two weeks ago. Capasa, who has created a global following with his minimal, modernist looks, said he is going out on a creative high.

"In the last 10 or 12 years, I haven't had as many positive reviews as I have had in the last two seasons, from critics from all over the world. It gives me trust for my creative future," he said.

Capasa said he planned to pursue new collaborations, but that he didn't know what yet.

"My instinct toward fashion is very strong. I can't remove myself from its push," Capasa said.