The Los Angeles-based Habitual brand has seen some rough times in recent years, but with a new owner and creative head, executives at the denim company are looking to turn it around.
The drama began about three years ago when founding designers Michael and Nicole Colovos left after a falling out with the brand’s former owners, Yosi Fujita and Toshi Kateo of Pacific Marketing Works. Under PMW, Habitual filed for bankruptcy in February 2008.
The brand is now owned by Bobby Ahn, who purchased it from PMW just over a year ago. Ahn, the owner of New Fashion, a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles that Habitual uses, hired Lee Holman as creative director in January.
Born and raised in London, Holman brings 12 years of design experience to Habitual. For the last two years he was creative director at Burberry’s soon-to-be-defunct contemporary label Thomas Burberry. Before that, Holman held design positions at Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi Strauss & Co. and Paul Smith. Holman plans to make the Habitual brand into a full contemporary sportswear and denim collection.
“We’ve gone through and refined the whole collection for holiday,” Holman said. “We went over all details, worked on more feminine trims and stitching. Going forward, we are looking at new trim packages.”
Although Holman said he plans to change a great deal of the product, he won’t ignore the core fits for which Habitual has become known. This is especially true with the skinny-jeans style. To offer more options to those wearing the skinny jeans, Holman is introducing a superskinny denim legging with four-way stretch for extra comfort. In addition, there is a wide-leg style, cuffed boyfriend style and an array of dressier pieces — a pleated skirt, tailored blazer, woven tops and dresses. The collection wholesales from $70 to $250.
For spring, Holman is working on a men’s wear collection as well as accessories, all of which will be designed in-house. Now sold in about 250 high-end specialty stores in the U.S., Holman said he plans to expand Habitual’s distribution into Asia and Europe, as well as to open freestanding Habitual stores in key cities.
The company expects sales of $10 million by the end of the year.
“Opening our own stores would be a natural progression for us,” Holman said. “It’s a great way to control your product and we can also work on special items for the stores to see how they sell.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast