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LOS ANGELES — J Brand, the premium denim label best known for its skinny jeans, is expanding for fall with a new label targeted at the curvier end of the consumer spectrum.
This story first appeared in the June 26, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company will introduce three styles for larger women under the Blue Label name next month. Blue Label’s cigarette-leg style with a 14-inch opening features a roomier fit around the thigh, and boot-cut and wide-leg styles are enhanced with back darts and a contoured waistband that hug the hips. With wholesale prices running from $72 to $75, Blue Label will debut exclusively at Bloomingdale’s in July. A month later, J Brand will widen distribution to other retailers, including Edit in New York, EB Pepper in Pittsburgh and Janey’s in Amarillo, Tex.
J Brand didn’t disclose sales figures, but management said it’s looking for Blue Label to account for at least 20 percent of the total business.
“We get to step outside of who we’ve been fitting and bring a whole new level of customers to J Brand,” said Susie Crippen, co-founder of the four-year-old denim company, based here.
J Brand already has diversified its offerings to appeal to other niche customers. It has an eco-friendly line called Green Label and a higher-end group dubbed Black Label that incorporates expensive fabrics such as high-end Japanese denim. J Brand also designed petite versions of its classic pencil leg with a 12-inch opening and its flared boot leg, both of which wholesale for $72 to $75. While Bloomingdale’s will begin selling the pencil leg in a dark wash in August, Shopbop will begin offering the flared style in a dark finish in September and then in white in December.
As for Blue Label, Crippen said she decided to start with the three styles because they are not only the company’s most popular but also ones she thought would best suit a curvy figure. Blue Label will be available in waist sizes ranging from 25 to 34. Even with the larger sizes and the addition of fabric to the thigh and a contoured waistband, Crippen said Blue Label will maintain J Brand’s signature dark and clean washes, elements that contribute to the overall appearance of a lean silhouette.
Crippen wouldn’t go as far as to call Blue Label a plus-size offering, however.
“Our original jean was really a slim cut,” she said. “In the original design, we took out extra fabric from the high hip to the knee for the slim, ‘isn’t-going-to-get-baggy’ look. There were a group of customers that weren’t able to fit into J Brand and wanted that aesthetic.”