Nov 17, 2023
Matthew M. Williams, co-founder of ready-to-wear brand 1017 Alyx 9SM, has announced “a business partnership with renowned Hong Kong entrepreneur Adrian Cheng.” The empire-headed billionaire has taken a majority stake in the luxury streetwear brand, founded in 2015 by the American designer with Luca Benini, the founder and boss of street brand distributor Slam Jam.
Details and the amount of the deal were not disclosed. “This is not a distribution agreement. Adrian Cheng has taken a majority stake in 1017 Alix SM9, while Luca Benini remains a minority shareholder. The partnership has been set up through the personal investment vehicle of Adrian Cheng to help the brand grow and open monobrand shops over the next two years,” a spokesperson for the label explained.
In a statement, the label said that Adrian Cheng “sees this investment as a testament to his belief in the transformative power of fashion. This strategic decision underlines Adrian Cheng’s commitment to supporting avant-garde designers who are redefining the boundaries of fashion.”
With this new partner, the brand owned by Matthew Williams, who has also been creative director of the LVMH brand Givenchy since 2020, will be able to accelerate its development by opening boutiques, expanding its product range and strengthening its teams. “Working with Adrian Cheng opens up exciting possibilities for the future of our brand,” says the designer, without revealing any more.
“1017 Alyx 9SM, under the creative direction of Matthew Williams, embodies the spirit of innovation that I love to support,” says the Chinese businessman.
The Chicago-born designer, who grew up in California before moving to New York, launched his own brand in 2015, which he named after his daughter Alyx. The brand initially focused on women, then expanded to men from 2017. Getting off to a flying start thanks to his partnership with Luca Benini, the label was renamed 1017 Alyx 9SM in 2018 (1017 in reference to his date of birth on October 17 and 9SM, a nod to the address of the New York studio where it all began for the designer). The label has since collaborated with the likes of Dior, Nike and Moncler, among others.
Following his success, driven by the great attention he pays to products, Matthew Williams moved to Italy in 2017, to Ferrara, where he has his production. He moved his studio to Milan however, where he has been showing since January 2022. The designer is now considering settling in Paris, where he made his catwalk debut in June 2018. Positioned in the high-end contemporary segment, with entry prices at €200/250 rising to €1,500 or €1,600 for the most prestigious pieces, the brand, which mixes streetwear and couture, sells mostly menswear.
It has continued to grow in recent years, now employing around twenty people and boasting over 150 retailers worldwide, including The Broken Arm and Printemps in Paris, Antonioli and LuisaViaRoma in Italy and Dover Street Market. The United States is its biggest market, followed by Europe. In 2020, the label opened a directly managed shop-in-shop at Harrods in London, where it is the most successful in terms of sales.
The eldest son and grandson of Hong Kong billionaire, Adrien Cheng is CEO of the New World Development (NWD) conglomerate, which is active in real estate, retail and other sectors such as transport. He is also owner of the Rosewood Hong Kong hotel chain and founder of the K11 group, which he launched in 2008 around a new distribution concept combining retail and culture, notably through new-generation shopping centres.
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