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.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye