Guez Brings New Blood To Dylan George

Dylan George, the premium denim brand founded last year by Danny Guez, is looking to ignite growth with the addition of executive talent.

LOS ANGELES — Dylan George, the premium denim brand founded last year by Danny Guez, is looking to ignite growth with the addition of executive talent and the relaunch of its men’s business.

This story first appeared in the November 5, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Rick Spielberg joined Los Angeles-based Dylan George in October after a four-year run with Hudson, where he helped grow revenue from $9 million to $60 million as vice president. Before Hudson, Spielberg was president of Blue Holdings, which was founded by Guez’s father, Paul, and where Danny met Spielberg before the younger Guez left to launch People’s Liberation in 2004. At City of Commerce, Calif.-based Blue Holdings, Spielberg oversaw the denim brands Antik Denim and Taverniti So for two years.

Spielberg’s departure from Hudson came after Fireman Capital Partners and Webster Capital acquired a majority stake in the denim firm last March for about $33 million.

“I prefer to work with an emerging company,” Spielberg said. “There are a lot of premium denim companies that want to break out as the next brand. But they lack infrastructure.”

One of Spielberg’s first steps is to install an infrastructure solidifying customer service, marketing, planning and production.

“Dylan George has an excellent fashion business working at retail,” he said. “We’re going to add fashion core basics.”

Approximately 60 percent of the products Dylan George ships are fashion items such as denim leggings and pants made of ponte. Spielberg intends to lower the ratio of fashion pieces to 40 percent next year, then to 20 percent in 2011, with basics constituting the remainder. The basics will wholesale from $65 to $75, while fashion denim will cost between $82 and $90. The goal is to generate revenue of more than $60 million in 2013, he said.

“You want to rely on basics,” Spielberg said. “That’s how you sustain yourself and your cash flow.”

For his part, Guez said he wanted someone to help him grow his company, which has annual sales of less than $10 million through retail accounts including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue in Mexico and 200 specialty stores such as Stanley Korshak.

“Running a company without someone to bounce things off of is difficult,” said Guez. “You really want a partner in crime to have been where you want to be and get there.”

Guez updated the women’s boot cut and flare for the holiday season as a step to setting the brand’s new direction. Wholesaling for $75, the new boot cut has a 17-inch leg opening, compared with the standard 18-inch opening. The flare, which wholesales for $84, features a trouser-style front with a rounded yoke and 20-inch leg opening. The spring collection will highlight new hardware and labeling, and an ad campaign is in the works for late next year.

The label is also gearing up for the relaunch of its men’s business in January under the direction of Jason Ferro, a Guess Inc. and Levi’s veteran who founded his own premium jeans label called Bread Denim, and Jason Briggs, who worked with Ferro at Bread. Dylan George unveiled its men’s line in fall 2008 and put it on hiatus this year to focus on its larger women’s business. With Ferro and Briggs on board full-time, Dylan George revamped the fit of the line’s slim straight, relaxed straight, slim boot and relaxed boot styles. New design elements include a straight leg with a black wax coating and twisted side belt loops as well as a destroyed wash accentuated with patches and potassium splatters.

The men’s spring collection has been ordered by Bloomingdale’s, National Jean Co., E Street Denim, Harvey Nichols and Harrods. Wholesale prices run between $68 and $86. Guez said he aims to grow sales of the men’s line to $10 million by the end of 2011.

“When you launch a brand, you’re going to see two to three lives,” Guez said. “I’m on my second life right now. When you first start, you have to figure out who your stores and who your customers are.…Now is the time to show newness. The stores and the consumers are ready for that.”