Esprit, that iconic '90s fashion house and purveyor of once-hot logo totebags and chic casualwear, has been financially treading water for months. We're worried.
Esprit de Corps first opened its doors in San Francisco in the 1970s, before soaring to fame in the '80s as one of the most popular brands of that decade; in 1978 they reported a $100 million company turnover. In the '90s, however, the company settled into tougher times with a rotating staff of execs and dwindling profits that marred its development for decades. In September of 2011, Esprit pulled out of Canada and the United States -- not a stellar sign.
And it gets worse: the retailer, now based in Hong Kong, said back then that its earnings for fiscal 2011 dropped 98 percent. On Thursday, news broke that Esprit's CEO Ronald van de Vis was resigning for "personal reasons," just two days after the company's chairman Hans Joachim Korber quit; Esprit's stock plunged when the news broke.
It's always sad to see such a style stalwart start to crumble, especially one that's brought us some stunning campaigns, including as recently as this spring, one from Gisele. As our team discussed the news, we realized that perhaps some of the problem was that Esprit simply stopped making memorable clothes, losing its hold on the "young and exciting" basics market to stores like H&M and Zara. While many of us begged our moms to buy us Esprit dresses in the '90s, most of us hadn't purchased an item from the brand in close to a decade.
We got to thinking: what other stores did we previously shop at where now, we rarely darken a door? We weighed in below; read through and join our Esprit prayer circle.