A big Chinese apparel group, Trendy Global, has acquired a stake in Sixty Far East, the Chinese subsidiary of Sixty Group. According to generally well-informed sources, Trendy will have 49 percent of the shares in Sixty Far East and will also handle its big footwear division, which develops and markets shoes under its various apparel brands – Miss Sixty, Energie, Killah and Murphy & Nye.
Meanwhile, Enrico Pesallaccia, who built up and ran Sixty's footwear division for 10 years until his departure from the group last spring, has joined another big Chinese company, which makes shoes for many different brands, to act as chief executive of its new Italian subsidiary, Plateau Italia. The company, which makes use of some of Pesallaccia's former collaborators, presented some original shoe styles under different trade names at the last Micam fair in Milan.
Little could be learned about the Chinese company behind Pesallaccia's new venture. Instead, Trendy is described as a group with a staff of 3,500 employees that markets its own brands of clothing, led by Ochilry, and manages some 1,500 shops throughout China. Founded in Hong Kong in 1999, it set up offices in the major cities in the Chinese mainland in recent years. Acting through a subsidiary called Trendiano, the group will take the place of Toppi, which has been managing many of Sixty's stores in China over the last eight years.
It remains to be seen whether Sixty Group will keep its production facilities in Italy in spite of reportedly serious financial problems derived from a big drop in its sales over the last couple of years, down to less than €300 million in 2010 from about €450 million in 2008. Footwear sales remained high at around €60 million. The 450 employees at Sixty's head office in Chieti have been afraid that 250 of them will soon lose their jobs, with manufacturing and other services migrating to China.
Many officials have left Sixty and its shoe division in the last few months. The announcement of the Chinese investment in Sixty coincided with the news of the premature death of Wicky Hassan at the age of 56 years. Born in Libya, he co-founded Sixty in 1989 together with a local entrepreneur, Renato Rossi, after passing on to his brother the ownership of the famous Energie store on Rome's popular via del Corso. Hassan ran Sixty for many years, developing its various brands in the young fashion segment of denim jeans and accessories with a touch of originality that some of his collaborators have missed lately.