But for reasons ranging from his personal aspirations to what he described as the fairly limited non-compete provisions of his arrangement with Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., which acquired control of J Brand in November 2012 for about $300 million, his next venture won’t be in jeans. And it isn’t likely to be directed at women.
“Denim was the only area where I was limited as far as a non-compete was concerned,” he said, “but it wasn’t where I wanted to go anyway. I’ve had a plan for five years to do what I’m going to do now.”
As for the new collection, he is keeping the details to himself at the moment but acknowledged that it will be directed at men and will have a strong luxury orientation. “I always said about J Brand that it’s about the woman, not the jean,” he pointed out. “The new concept will be about the man and will be directed at the same concept of uniqueness we had with J Brand’s launch and development. Like J Brand, I want to do something that brings out emotion, something that people love to wear.”
Rudes, an entrepreneur who’s been developing and nurturing brands since starting Paris 2000 jeans not long after graduating from high school, might be closely associated with jeans, but he’s comfortably stepped into other product categories during his career. Beginning in the Eighties, he spent nearly a decade heading up Area Code, a junior knit line, and continues to have business interests, as well as personal ties, to a number of enterprises inside and outside of fashion. He recently financed and is actively advising Thinium Technologies, producers of wireless phone chargers that received highly favorable reviews at this January’s CES show.
Rudes had nothing but praise for his former colleagues at Fast Retailing, including Andrew Rosen, a group officer of Fast Retailing and ceo of Theory and Helmut Lang who will serve as J Brand’s interim ceo.
Still, he said nothing to contradict the comments last month of colleagues and competitors who thought that at least some of the emotional attachment he had to J Brand was missing now that it had a new majority owner and, with sportswear in place, was entering a stage in which some of the more predictable elements of brand expansions — such as brick-and-mortar and online retailing and licensing — would be getting much of the attention. Before and since the Fast Retailing acquisition, J Brand had a series of expansion initiatives that had been slow to materialize, including planned entries into retailing, a strength of the brand’s president Lynne Koplin, as well as possible men’s and accessories offerings.
“I thought I’d put in another five years,” he told WWD of his thoughts following the Fast Retailing acquisition during a break between meetings in Thinium’s Los Angeles offices, “but I really wanted to get this new brand going. Fast has lots of integrity and they are great partners, but it is all about expanding with a lot of stores and a lot of new ideas now. I asked myself where I wanted to work the hardest for the rest of my career and the answer was this new concept.”
Rudes declined to comment on details involving his investment in J Brand, which he retained at the time of the Fast Retailing acquisition but which was sold prior to his departure. It isn’t known whether the sale of his minority stake was negotiated as part of Fast Retailing’s purchase or negotiated subsequent to it.
Before immersing himself in the new venture, he said he’s continuing to involve himself in various real estate deals, his investment in Thinium, relationships with numerous fashion firms including L’Agence and other interests.
This summer, he will take his annual family vacation in Mykonos and avail himself of spare time now that he’s actually got some.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews