ESCADA's headquarters in Munich, Germany.
|Founders||Margaretha Ley |
The company was founded in 1978 by designer Margaretha Ley and currently retails fashion accessories and ready-to-wear. As of 2017 Escada SE operates in 80 countries with 600 points of sale worldwide. The luxury fashion label employees around 1,500 employees with international locations in Milan, Paris, Tokyo, London, Beverly Hills, and New York City.
Escada was founded in 1978 by Margaretha and Wolfgang Ley in Munich, Germany. Being a former model and having a solid education in tailoring from the Royal Court in Stockholm, Margaretha Ley became known for her bold, feminine designs. 1978 saw the first presentation of the Escada womenswear collection, which featured exquisite inlays and appliqués. The company soon stood out, with its distinctive creations featuring unusual combinations of colors and patterns, exclusive embroidery, and elaborately designed knitted fashions. Escada saw a rapid upswing and continually extended its collections and its creative work.
In the course of its international expansion, Escada SE went public in 1986. In 1994 the company launched the Escada Sport label, established its own accessories collection including bags and shoes and granted major licenses, collaborating with such partners as Procter & Gamble.
In 2009, Escada sold its subsidiary Primera AG, based in Münster, Westphalia which comprised the brands apriori, cavita, and Laurèl, as well as BiBA. On August 11, 2009, Escada filed insolvency at Munich Local Court, as an exchange offer for the outstanding bonds of €200 million was not accepted by the necessary 80% of all bond holders. In November 2009, it was acquired by India's London-based billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, whose daughter-in-law, Megha Mittal, is the owner and Director of the Board. She is married to Aditya Mittal.
On 20 February 2014, according to Women's Wear Daily, Bruno Sälzer will step down as CEO of Escada by December 2014.
On 1 September 2016, Iris Epple-Righi joined as the CEO of Escada after 13 years with Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
Niall Sloan joined Escada as the Global Design Director on August 1, 2017 after designing for luxury label Burberry and Hunter. Sloan presented his first runway collection for Escada at New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 19 to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary.  The event was held at the historic Park Avenue Armory. For the Fall / Winter 19 season Sloan presented his next collection, inspired by the life and legacy of Hedy Lamarr Hedy Lamarr, during Paris Fashion Week in February at the Institut de France. 
Escada announced British singer Rita Ora as the brand's new ambassador and face of their spring campaign on January 14, 2019.  Ora released a version of the ESCADA Heart Bag which she helped co-design on March 27, 2019 at a launch party at the Public Hotel in New York City. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the design was given to Women for Women International, a charity helping rebuild the lives of female survivors of war. 
Escada divides its business activities in three segments:
- Fashion with the brands Escada Mainline and Escada Sport.
- Accessories consisting of bags, shoes, and small leather goods. 
- Licenses which utilizes the Escada brand for fragrances, eyewear. 
Diana, Princess of Wales was a customer of Escada, famously wearing an Escada coat for a formal visit to Berlin in 1987. Kim Basinger was awarded the Oscar in 1988 in an Escada gown. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is a regular Escada customer. In 2010, she wore Escada to the pre-wedding party at the wedding of Prince Nikolaos of Greece. In 2011, she wore Escada to the Monaco royal wedding, the pre-wedding dinner for the British royal wedding, as well as the state visit to Germany. Sarah, Duchess of York, wore Escada to Elton John's White Tie and Tiara Ball in 2011.
On 18 October 2007, the group "Global Network Against the Fur Industry", which is made up of organizations such as Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade or Offensive gegen die Pelzindustrie, launched a campaign against Escada, in the form of a day of action, in hopes of getting Escada to stop selling fur. According to their website, on October 18, there were 40 actions against Escada in 14 countries. On October 6, 2007, Escada headquarters were vandalized by the Animal Liberation Front. Since that date the campaign against Escada continues with regular pickets in front of Escada-outlets worldwide. In October 2010, Frank Elsner, the representative for press and business communication, confirmed to the campaigners that Escada will go completely fur-free, starting January 2011.
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- Ma, Fiona (14 January 2019). "Rita Ora Is Escada's New Brand Ambassador". WWD. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
- Scott, Catherine (28 March 2019). "Rita Ora's Got a Brand-New Bag, and She Designed It for Escada". Vogue. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
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- "Escada Fragrances". December 25, 2018.
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Media related to Escada at Wikimedia Commons