Dutch LLC named James Miller chief executive officer as its board looks to usher in a new wave of growth at the contemporary fashion house.
Miller, on June 30, succeeds ceo Jack Schwefel, who is expected to remain on the Vernon, Calif.-based company’s board.
“The first thing I can say is how wonderfully placed these brands are today and they all have an opportunity that is far greater than we have today,” Miller said. “It’s understanding what the DNA of those brands are and how best to represent them going forward and how to represent them on a global scale. I think the evolution is crucial here. We’re looking to see an evolution as opposed to a major difference in where the business came from and where it’s going.”
“It has been a pleasure to work with the talented and passionate team of people at Dutch to continue building on the success of our visionary founder, Serge Azria,” Schwefel said in a statement. “James is an extremely talented executive with a terrific track record of building global brands and I couldn’t be more confident in his ability to continue leading this team forward. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him as I resume my role on the company’s board of directors.”
The growth strategies for each of the three brands will differ, the specifics of which Miller could not yet get into given he has yet to become ceo.
“The brands are in different stages of their growth strategy, but none of them have hit their peak at all,” he said.
Miller, former president of retail at Polo Ralph Lauren, served as a consultant to Dutch for about five months before officially joining as president in March. Before Polo Ralph Lauren, Miller was an executive at Ted Baker, where he held a number of positions including executive director, head of international and head of outlets across a 13-year span of time.
He’ll take his past experiences at other brands and roll those learnings into the Dutch business, he said.
Wholesale will continue to be an important business, but there’s plenty of room to be opportunistic in brick-and-mortar whether that be through company-owned doors or via joint ventures or licensing deals, Miller said. There isn’t a specific store count goal the company’s looking to reach, Miller said. He pointed out some competitors in the market that have focused on hitting a certain door count have often done so to the detriment of their businesses.
Dutch currently counts 33 stores with the most recent an opening of a Current/Elliott on Fillmore Street in San Francisco about a month ago.
“We’ve just done a very heavy undertaking at ICSC to look at the market. We know how to make our model work at retail,” Miller said. “We’re very optimistic about how the U.S. markets look for our brands. We’re very, very uniquely positioned for a successful continued retail expansion program. I would be very clear that we are looking to tap into the U.S. and international retail markets.”
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