The deal gives designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock complete creative control over their eight-year-old brand, but Li & Fung's global approach to building and marketing brands will push Vena Cava into new territory. The plan is for Li & Fung — which also works with brands like Rachel Zoe, Guerlain, and Keds Apparel, among others — to help Vena Cava enter categories other than making clothing for young women.
"We now have all the production, sourcing and technical help that we could ever dream about," Mayock told WWD. "We have so many ideas we tried to execute in the past that just haven't worked because we didn’t have those kind of resources and couldn't figure out the best way to make something actually happen."
Buhai added that eventually, they'd like to add homeware and menswear. "We are interested in doing more print publications, little movies and eventually one day we'd like to have our own stores."
This is a huge turnaround for a brand that just five months ago was rumored to be on the verge of collapse. After presenting their Spring 2012 collection with a dinner party, instead of staging a runway show, it was widely reported that Buhai and Mayock's financials forced them to lay off much of their staff and take their offices back to their New York homes. Buhai says the rumors were just rumors.
"We just hit a point where we realized that in order to take [Vena Cava] where we wanted to take it in terms of our vision, we had to get some investment help," Buhai said. "So we decided to take a little bit of time. We were just regrouping."