Designer Kristopher Brock is best known for his brand Brock Collection, a collaboration between himself and Laura Vassar, his former spouse and the brand’s co-founder. But in recent years, Brock has turned his attention to other design opportunities.
This week, he announced the launch of a new collection in collaboration with Berlinger Jewelry and co-designed with his new partner, reality television star Kaitlynn Carter. Berlinger founder, CEO and creative director Michelle Berlinger approached the couple a few months ago through a mutual friend, Brock said. Prior, Brock had designed a few pieces for Brock Collection’s runway shows but had never made jewelry for sale. The new collection, made up of six pieces ranging from $1,980-$5,490 in price, is Berlinger’s first collaboration.
For Brock, the collection, as well as some of the other collaborations he’s done over the last year with companies including Bloomingdale’s and Aqua, have allowed him to branch out and try new things.
“My favorite part of this transition has been having the learning experience of going into all these brands and seeing different ways of doing things,” Brock said. “I’ve worked with small brands and big brands. I’ve actually really enjoyed collaborating with some larger brands and getting a glimpse of how to work within a corporate structure, since Brock Collection was always very much a startup.”
So what exactly is going on with Brock Collection? The company was founded in 2014 and quickly earned buzz in the fashion community, including winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2016 and winning the 2017 and 2018 CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. But Brock Collection hasn’t released any new clothes in over a year, and its social media channels haven’t been updated since October 2021.
According to Brock, the brand isn’t completely shut down but is currently “inactive.” In 2018, Brock and Vassar separated and decided to pause the business. They had a three-year licensing deal for Brock Collection with High Italian Manufacturing, so they kept working on it together until their final collection, a collaboration with bridal brand Over the Moon in 2021. The brand isn’t technically shut down, and some of its products are still in stock at places like Bergdorf Goodman and Net-a-Porter. However, it hasn’t produced a new collection in the last year.
Brock declined to share revenue figures for Brock Collection prior to its halt. But Over the Moon reported that its collaboration with the brand was among its best-selling collections, and the brand’s prestige from its multiple CFDA awards made it an in-demand collaboration partner. Before it shut down it collaborated with multiple big-name fashion companies including H&M and MyTheresa.
But both Brock and Vassar have stayed busy. Earlier this month, Vassar designed a luxury collection for Reformation, dubbed simply The Collection. The prices of the 18 pieces ranged up to nearly $1,000. The collab is Vassar’s biggest solo work since the unofficial end of Brock Collection, though she has also done collaborations with California boutique A’Maree’s. Vassar did not respond to a request for comment.
For Brock, part of the value of the extended post-Brock-Collection sabbatical has been gaining an understanding of the new role of the designer in the modern fashion landscape.
“Fashion has turned into a marketing game,” Brock said. “You’re building a brand on how a consumer views it, what each image says. The product is almost secondary at this point. I love storytelling and photography, and I always have. But to me, the product and the merchandising should be just as important as the story and the editorial. In this day and age, you have to be the whole package.”
Brock said he has more collaborations coming up later this year, including one with a major brand in September that he can’t yet announce. When asked if he would take an offer to be the creative director of an existing brand or start a new brand from the ground up, he said he’d be open to either.
“Not to sound like an opportunist, but I try not to plan ahead too much and just see what comes up,” he said. “Everyone who wants to be in fashion would love to be the creative director of an established house. I would love that. But so much has changed in fashion, maybe I end up at a big brand or a small one. We’ll see what happens when we get there.”