Jerome Dahan is on his own now and has his eye on international expansion and new licensing deals for his high-end jeans brand, Citizens of Humanity.
For most of the last four years, Dahan had worked closely with Michael Glasser. The two founded the Seven For All Mankind line in 2000 and in 2002 started Citizens after a dispute with their former backer, Peter Koral. A judge last month awarded Dahan and Glasser about $56 million as the result of a suit they filed against Koral. Glasser decided to sell his stake in the Huntington Park, Calif.-based Citizens to Dahan and step down from the company.
During a stopover in New York last week, Dahan said Citizens will remain on its current track.
“I’m doing what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, I’m focusing on denim,” he said. “I’m not intending to drive the company into something huge. I want it to be stable and sustainable.”
He said Citizens is on track to ship $65 million worth of goods this year, mostly in the U.S.
“I’m not trying to do it bigger and bigger next year,” he said. “I want to do more in different countries.”
He said he’s looking into licensing deals in the sunglasses and footwear categories, but plans to move slowly on developing those areas.
“I want it to be fun at first,” he said. “I don’t want to do it in a big way.”
Dahan said it is crucial with a superpremium brand such as Citizens to find licensees willing to pay the same attention to detail that he does. For instance, he asked knit tops licensee Swat Fame to sew the pockets on sweatshirts with the type of sewing machine normally used to attach the cuffs on jeans — a slower machine designed to go through several layers of heavy denim. It was extra effort, but to Dahan represented the type of detail his customers want.— Scott Malone
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