It is not uncommon for fashion designers and creative directors to move on from one brand to another when a company changes the creative direction of the brand or the designer/creative director decides to move onto another venture and explore other options or facets of their creativity.
This was the case of the former creative director of the fashion house Carolina Herrera, Laura Kim, who last year decided to leave the fashion company in favour of a position at Oscar de la Renta. Ms Kim had worked previously at Oscar de la Renta in 2003, while still in college but she decided to leave the fashion house in 2015 for Carolina Herrera after being passed over for the role of creative director upon Mr. de la Renta’s death. She joined Carolina Herrera in February 2016 as senior vice president for design but submitted her resignation about four months later.
In September 2016, a few days after her final day at Carolina Herrera, it was confirmed by Oscar de la Renta's chief executive, Alex Bolen, that Ms Kim would take over the role of creative director of the fashion house along with her creative partner, Fernando Garcia.
However, Ms Kim was subject to a no-competition agreement which she signed when she first joined Carolina Herrera to prevent her from working with any direct competitor for six months after leaving the company. Due to no-competition agreement, Ms Kim would be unable to start her new position until April 2017.
This kind of agreements is common among creative directors in order to prevent them from working against their former employers and allow fair competition in the market. As Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera may be considered direct competitors, this can put into dispute whether Ms Kim breached the terms of her contract with Carolina Herrera.
In the claims, Herrera was seeking to deter Kim's new appointment until April in accordance with the agreement Ms Kim had signed during her time of employment.
On 21st December 2016, the New York State judge Jeffrey Oing ruled in Carolina Herrera’s favour and issued a temporary restraining order that prevented Ms. Kim from continuing to work for Oscar de la Renta, at least until 10th January 2017, when she and the label’s lawyers were expected in court to try to fight the non-compete clause. However just two days later, the judge lifted the restraining order and all parties were expected to fight the non-competence clause.
However, the two fashion houses have now come to a "discreet" settlement concerning the hire, which allows Kim to continue in her role at Oscar de la Renta as the co-creative director with Fernando Garcia.
"Carolina Herrera Ltd., Oscar de la Renta LLC and Laura Kim have reached a settlement of the lawsuit filed by Carolina Herrera Ltd," read a statement from the two companies according to WWD. "The terms of the settlement are confidential, except that Laura Kim has returned to Oscar de La Renta LLC, subject to the conditions agreed upon by the parties."