While rap mogul Jay-Z may be enjoying the good life as an executive these days, a portion of his Rocawear clothing staff have lost their jobs due to tough economic times.
Although details are just now emerging, the terminations reportedly took place earlier this month.
Rocawear -- the hip-hop clothing brand founded in 1999 by rapper entrepreneurs Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Damon Dash -- laid off half the staff of its men's and boys apparel division on Jan. 6, one day before Jay-Z's wife, Beyoncé Knowles, gave birth to the couple's baby girl. Rocawear's New York headquarters -- a 40,000-square-foot facility at 1411 Broadway where Jay-Z took an office in 2009 -- fired 28 of its 56 workers for "economic" reasons, according to documents filed with the New York State Department of Labor. Jay-Z, formerly a "big presence" in the office, rarely shows up anymore, an insider told The Post. "It's kind of like he's given up on the brand," the source added.
Despite selling the brand a few years ago, Jay has been known to support Rocawear.
Jay-Z has retained an interest in Rocawear as part of his 2007 deal, according to the Post, but his contractual obligations to the brand have expired and the rapper has since refused to promote it amid steady, double-digit sales drops. "Jay-Z doesn't do anything without getting paid a lot of money -- a lot more than Rocawear is generating," a source reportedly to the paper.
In 2009, Jay's brand was approved for a global expansion into Greater China.
Iconix China has signed an expansion deal for its Rocawear brand, which was co-founded by rapper Jay-Z, in Greater China with Bosideng International Holdings. Bosideng will manufacture and distribute Rocawear men's and women's products from Spring 2010. It plans to open over 300 Rocawear free-standing stores and shop-in-shop concepts within the next three years.
Rocawear was purchased by Iconix in March 2007.
Iconix Brand said it would pay $204 million in cash plus contingent payments of an additional $35 million of Iconix stock to buy Rocawear, a fashion brand co-founded by rap star Jay-Z. Iconix expects $43 million in Rocawear royalty revenue in the first year. Jay-Z will be in charge of product development, marketing and licensing for Rocawear. His senior management team in licensing, marketing and product development will also join Iconix. Jay-Z will retain his stake in the operating company that manufactures Rocawear men's apparel.