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WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Danny Guez is diving back into denim with a new label, Dylan George, targeting upwardly mobile women and men between the ages of 24 and 42 who have lots of disposable income.
“This line is for a privileged few and that’s how I’m keeping it,” Guez said during an interview in the penthouse office overlooking the Sunset Strip that he’s renting from his uncle, Tarrant Apparel Group co-founder Gerard Guez. “It’s an aspiration brand.”
Dylan George will be the 31-year-old denim designer’s first venture since cutting ties with People’s Liberation last October. Guez founded that company in 2004 and took it public in 2005. As chairman and chief executive officer, Guez helped turn the People’s Liberation and Justin Timberlake-backed William Rast labels into a $20 million business. He ceded his position as ceo in June 2007 and became co-chairman and creative director. Guez resigned four months later and began work on Dylan George, named after his son, in November.
“Running a public company really puts a toll on you mentally and physically,” Guez said, adding that he won’t work with outside investors this time.
When Guez started People’s Liberation, Colin Dyne was an investor. Dyne is now ceo and a director of the company.
“Although having partners was fun at times and hard at others, you couldn’t make a decision without consulting three other people,” Guez said. “I just feel I do what’s best.”
Denim has been a constant in the Guez family. Danny’s father, Paul, launched brands such as Sasson, Antik Denim and Taverniti So Jeans, and his sister, Anouk, co-founded Yanuk. Before starting People’s Liberation in 2004, Danny Guez ran the private label divisions at Innovo Group Inc. and Blue Concepts, both co-founded by his father, which produced jeans for J. Crew and Pacific Sunwear of California.
With six employees, compared with 56 at the publicly traded People’s Liberation, Guez said he can keep his operations focused and tight. The jeans are made in the U.S., services such as warehouses are outsourced and inventory is limited to help ensure better cash flow. His track record at People’s Liberation helped Guez secure orders for the line’s debut fall collection from national retailers, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, along with specialty retailers such as Lisa Kline in Los Angeles, Fred Segal Fun in Santa Monica, Calif., and Big Drop in New York.
Wholesale prices range from $90 to $130 for the jeans and $75 to $300 for sportswear. Guez expects the fall and holiday collections to generate more than $5 million in wholesale sales between July and December. Sales are projected to more than double to between $12 million and $15 million next year, when Guez plans to begin rolling out handbags, footwear, a fragrance license, Swiss-made watches and a children’s line. He’s also planning a flagship in Los Angeles by the end of 2009.
Top-selling women’s styles are a boot cut, a skinny jean with the circular Dylan George icon embroidered on the back pocket and a hip-hugging style with a leg that widens into a subtle flare.
While the men’s line will offer denim and sportswear this fall, the women’s line will launch jeans first and follow with sportswear for holiday. The sportswear lineup centers around a “royal military” theme and includes vests with Y-shaped backs, shawl-collar sweaters, wool shifts accentuated with wide belts and side pockets, and epaulets, patches and contrast piping piled on double-breasted peacoats.