CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — As the maturing premium denim industry moves to revive consumers’ interest amid competition from sectors like activewear, Hudson Jeans is moving from the branding formula that has worked in its favor for 12 years.After three years of flaunting rock-and-fashion progeny Georgia May Jagger in ads, Hudson is vowing to exclude models from its creative campaign and stop the Photoshopping of images. Using “real, crafted and optimistic” as its new brand pillars to replace “sexy, mysterious and cool,” Hudson is embracing the democratic and authentic spirit enabled by social media, blogs and vlogs, in which anyone can do their own thing.“Aspirational — I hear this word all the time and it makes me puke,” said Peter Kim, Hudson’s founder and chief executive officer, at the brand’s loftlike headquarters. “Aspiration isn’t just physical beauty. Aspiration is what you’re doing in life.”Working with Violette Design as its creative agency, Hudson began the project last fall by hiring brand strategist Paul Worthington to talk to retailers, ranging from American Rag Cie to Mario’s to Neiman Marcus, about the state of the premium denim market and its own position in it. While Hudson hinted at its new direction this past spring, when it canceled a photo shoot in Morocco at the last minute and displayed instead a blank space with jagged red, white and blue streaks on the top left-hand corner to suggest a torn page, it’s saving the big unveil for this fall. Tweaking its Union Jack symbol, its new logo spells out “Hudson” and “Hudson Jeans” with a slight bend to imitate the curve of a banner waving in the wind.The ads also emphasize a message rather than an image by layering an affirmation over Yayoi Kusama-like blobs of red and blue. While Hudson ran a four-page spread from the campaign in the August issue of Flaunt, it’s unleashing a barrage in the September editions of Vogue, Details, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue and Glamour, encouraging readers to practice “self-expression, not self-obsession” and “risk not regret.”Moreover, Hudson solicited candidates from its employees for people who could star in YouTube and Vine videos, Web ads and a social campaign on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On the list are a writer, beekeeper and architect, among others. Some of them will wear Hudson’s clothes.“The key part is their story,” Kim said of Hudson’s circle of role models. “We’re telling positive, inspirational stories of real people doing things.”Acknowledging that its customer base is comprised of people over 30 — a stark contrast to the 22-year-old Jagger who had fronted Hudson, it hopes this approach will build long-term loyalty with consumers who are in their 30s and 40s. The branding concept also will appear on Hudson’s business cards, hangtags and retail displays.“This is purely about the essence of the brand and how the brand shows up in the premium denim space in a very, very different way than anyone else has done before,” said Hudson president Barbara Cook.Cook’s arrival last year following stints at The Wet Seal Inc. and Gap Inc. signaled a new phase in the company’s evolution. In the past year, it’s hired 10 people to infuse a fresh perspective in management, marketing and design at the 150-person company.Now a subsidiary of Joe’s Jeans, also based in Commerce, Hudson declined to disclose the spending on the new branding initiative. Executives acknowledged the costs didn’t decline even with the absence of a celebrity model. Instead, they redistributed the expenses to new avenues, such as filming videos and creating content for social media. Joe’s Jeans said overall selling, general and administrative expenses, including advertising, increased 23 percent to $39.5 million for the six months ended May 31 from the same period a year ago. In that six-month period, it posted net income of $161,000, reversing a net loss of $5.2 million, as sales grew 58 percent to $95.5 million from $60.3 million.To be sure, Hudson isn’t demoting fashion in its designs as it is in its ads. The fall collection highlights $235 jacquard leggings with ankle zips and $245 black moto-inspired jeans with striped detailing at the knee.“We’re not going to make balloon pants,” Kim said, adding that the goal is to “not shake up the product. We’re shaking up the message to the consumer.”
“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