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Brand Maker

Soon-to-be-hot denim brands know where to go for a little extra oomph.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Denim In Depth issue 05/10/2011

Here’s a look at some denim brands that are currently in the spotlight at Ron Herman.

Label: J Brand

Background: Having sold a variety of lines to Ron Herman over the past 20 years, Jeff Rudes, founder and chief executive, said the boutique was the only place where he wanted to launch J Brand in 2005.
“That’s the store to launch a jeans brand in America, if not the planet,” Rudes said. After selling exclusively at Ron Herman for three months, J Brand went on to build a $90 million business.

Presentation: J Brand now occupies a prime spot on the first floor of the women’s section, to the right of the front door. Recent displays included a mannequin bedecked in J Brand’s aviator-inspired cargo pants and a flirty Joie top with accessories from Simone Camille, Pas de Calais and Hat Attack.

“When a woman walks in the door, she expects to see the best J Brand presentation in Los Angeles,” Brian Kaneda, Ron Herman’s denim buyer, said.

Rudes said Ron Herman is going to play yet another integral role when J Brand introduces sportswear next spring.

Label: Civilianaire

 

Background: Ron Herman is the only store outside of Civilianaire’s branded shops in Los Angeles and Montecito, Calif., to sell the two-year-old workwear-inspired line. Herman described Gene Montesano, co-founder of Bongo Jeans, Lucky Brand and Civilianaire, as “an aficionado.” Barry Perlman, who started Lucky and Civilianaire with Montesano, said partnering with Herman was “a natural choice.”

 

Presentation: Civilianaire-branded wooden hangers and framed black-and-white photos warm up the industrial vibe of the corner in-store shop, which is tucked behind J. Crew’s section. Montesano and Perlman feel so at ease at Ron Herman that they brought along J. Crew chairman and ceo Millard “Mickey” Drexler to take inventory at the Civilianaire and J. Crew pop-up shops on a recent Tuesday morning.

Perlman said if he had his way with the Civilianaire section, “I’d be here forever.”

Label: Mother

Background: Tim Kaeding, the founder and designer of Mother and former creative director at Seven For All Mankind, wanted to join the lineage of denim brands that launched at Ron Herman. “When you think of L.A. denim, you automatically think of Ron Herman,” he said. “There’s a lot of history with Ron Herman and good L.A. brands launching there.”

 

Presentation: The day before Mother shipped its first order to Ron Herman this spring, Kaeding delivered a table made of diagonal slats painted stark white. The brand’s name was laser-cut into the table in black. The display was set up right before the weekend. By Tuesday, the entire first shipment was sold out.

“It’s nice to do something special for a store,” Kaeding said. “It’s fun and easy for us and it’s great publicity.”

Label: Levi’s Vintage Clothing

 

Background: When it came time to set up the display for Levi’s Vintage Clothing last year, Herman and Maurizio Donadi, head of Levi’s XX division, didn’t hesitate to get their hands dirty. The pair spent hours painting small wood blocks with numbers denoting the years when certain Levi’s jeans were made. Of all the denim brands that Herman could pull for his own closet, he prefers to wear Levi’s Vintage Clothing.

 

Presentation: Located on the second floor, where many of the designer and luxury labels are displayed, Levi’s presentation takes visitors to the Wild West with rough-hewn wooden tables and Navajo rugs. While one mannequin underscores craftsmanship by pairing selvage jeans with a workman’s apron, another ensemble features Levi’s, a Belstaff leather jacket and a plaid button-up shirt from the store’s private label.