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.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)