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Cindy Yun couldn’t find comfortable yet fashionable apparel to match a lifestyle that required frequent travel, so she decided to make her own.
This story first appeared in the April 1, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Yun is preparing to ship initial deliveries next month of Rue de Jeans, her bid to give consumers the kind of comfortable jeans that can be worn on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and directly to the club. With retail prices ranging from $150 to $250, the line has been picked up by specialty retailers such as Scoop, Atrium, Ron Herman and H Lorenzo, and Yun is in talks with department stores like Barneys New York and Bloomingdale’s. The line is produced in Los Angeles and financially backed by Yun.
Travel has been a constant in Yun’s life. She was born in Seoul and grew up in Hawaii and California. She spent several years in the corporate world working for Anderson Consulting and Yahoo before getting a fashion merchandising degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and opening her own showroom. Those jobs required frequent travel across the U.S. and to Europe and Asia, and often a change of outfit from comfortable plane attire to more stylish choices, an annoyance she thinks is no longer necessary.
“I had this idea of coming up with a denim line that I can wear on the plane, something that really gives me that comfort and, at the same time, is stylish,” said Yun.
Use of lightweight premium Italian and Japanese fabrics with 2 to 3 percent stretch is a key to achieving comfort, but Yun has gone further by adjusting other details. Instead of using a traditional leather logo patch, Yun has developed a 2-inch elastic insert that sports the logo and gives the waist room to expand when the wearer is sitting.
“I wanted it to be more of a stealth element on the logo,” said Yun.
The women’s collection centers around three core fits — a skinny, straight and flared boot cut — and also features corduroy and velveteen bottoms. There are several limited edition styles, including the Etoile, which features a waistband studded with Crystallized-Swarovski Elements. Some items are hand-sewn and all the jeans feature red stitching on the inside seams, adding a design element for women who roll their jeans.
Yun said the response to the line has been positive so far.
“The retailers want something different,” she said. “They’re asking, ‘Can you give us more comfort, anything that is one more step beyond the premium level?’”