Since Nathan Bogle exited as co-founder of Rag & Bone in 2006, he’s watched from the sidelines as the brand has rocketed to prominence and opened a string of 10 stores, including its latest flagships on Madison Avenue in April and London last month.
This story first appeared in the August 2, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now Bogle is back in the game with his own men’s label, called Jardine, which will launch at retail for spring. If he has any pangs of regret about departing Rag & Bone — or feels any pressure to live up to his former brand’s remarkable recent success — he doesn’t express it during a preview of his new line. “They’ve done a fantastic job. I commend them all the way and I see the work they’re doing and I think it’s great,” he observed of former partners Marcus Wainwright and David Neville. “I’m not in touch with them. We do our own things now.”
There are no traces of the vintage-centric Rag & Bone aesthetic in Jardine, which is overtly modern and minimalist, gilded with a touch of Eighties exuberance. There’s no denim in the collection, either.
“Back then, I was really inspired by Americana and denim. I’m a different person now and I’m responding to something fresher and cleaner, to simplicity and an uncluttered look,” explained Bogle, 37.
The debut collection includes suit separates in crisp polyurethane-coated cotton or tropical weight wool, all with single-button jackets ($825 to $895 retail) and pants that are available in either slim or straight fits ($225 to $250). Dress shirts ($275) are fashioned from 120s cotton, adorned with a double row of vertical pin tucks. Café racer jackets in lightweight perforated leather ($1,195) are soft to the touch yet sleek in silhouette.
Bogle didn’t shy away from utilizing synthetic fabrics, such as in his updated take on Sixties Ban-Lon polo shirts in viscose ($295) or gilet jackets in waterproof polyester with zip-off sleeves ($595). Pops of color accentuate the lineup, such as polos in vivid yellow, pants in bright pink and T-shirts in graphic, two-tone triangle patterns ($90).
Two angel investors have helped finance the launch, in addition to Bogle’s own funding. The self-taught designer has hired one person so far to work on the line, which is produced mostly in Portugal. Bogle is selling the line personally to retailers, using contacts built up from his days at Rag & Bone.
Jardine — which was the surname of Bogle’s great-grandfather — is the end result of the designer’s long-held plans to launch his own venture. “I needed a little bit of breathing room,” he explained of the extended wait for the label to gel. Since splitting from Rag & Bone — a company in which he sold his entire stake — Bogle has worked on a number of various projects. From 2008 to 2010, he formed his own consulting firm, called NB Associates, and worked for several men’s wear brands, including Bespoken.
In November 2010, Bogle was brought on board as a partner at a startup film and television production company called Artful Dodger Productions to work on script proposals. He enrolled in a screenwriting course of study at the New York Film Academy last year and is at work on his own script as well. “It’s a nice balance to the intensity of starting a new brand,” he noted.
Bogle — who became tabloid fodder for a spell while dating actress Natalie Portman in 2007 — also resumed his modeling career. He’s appeared in J. Crew catalogues for the past few years and was featured in campaigns for the high street chain Next in the U.K. in 2009 and 2010. The London-born Bogle first came to New York in 1998 to pursue modeling and racked up spots in Louis Vuitton, DKNY, Emporio Armani, Paul Smith, Ermenegildo Zegna and Gap ads.
“The men’s wear category right now is very exciting, as it’s growing by leaps and bounds,” said Bogle, who has the advantage of serving as his own fit model for Jardine. “I think the opportunity to introduce new product is there. For next fall, I’d like to add more outerwear and knitwear and be a little aggressive with categories like accessories and shoes, if the opportunity is there.”