Los Angeles-based contemporary label L’Agence has appointed Jeffrey Rudes as chief executive officer, effective today. L’Agence was launched in 2008 with Rudes as a cofounder and financier. In his new role, Rudes is reteaming with Albert Schami, president, to evolve the label into a multiproduct, multichannel lifestyle collection comprising women’s ready-to-wear, footwear, handbags, cosmetics and fragrance. Rudes cofounded J Brand denim, where Schami served as chief operating officer and partner.
The L’Agence collection is composed of dresses, knit and woven sportswear, blouses, sweaters, Ts and jeans. The denim offering, a complement to the collection, has shown tremendous growth over the last two years and has been a major volume-driver of the brand. Given Rudes and Schami’s track record with J Brand, look for the category to grow significantly in the coming months.
“My goal is to make L’Agence one of the most influential brands in the denim market. The name has so much equity. We’ll be placing an emphasis on denim because of how important it is in a woman’s wardrobe,” said Rudes.
Ron Herman, who has carried the brand since its launch, said, “L’Agence speaks to the L.A., California vibe. It’s elegant but relaxed, but it goes beyond that. The name is what first attracted me. It has a strong position in the market to expand into handbags, jewelry and the ultimate cream of the crop, fragrance.” Herman added that L’Agence denim is also one of his top sellers. “To have Jeff reenter the market is like bringing back one of the gurus,” he said.
Next month, L’Agence will launch commerce, which is anticipated to produce 10 percent of the sales volume in the next year. In terms of brick- and-mortar, the brand plans to open a flagship boutique in New York and additional locations in Los Angeles and Miami in 2018. Sales at the Los Angeles flagship on Melrose Place are 150 percent over planned projections.
Also beginning in fall of 2018, L’Agence will enter international markets such as Europe, Asia and the Middle East, planning to expand to 500-plus doors by 2020.
“Since its reorganization in 2015, L’Agence has increased sales by 100 percent and grown to be a leading brand in the contemporary women’s market. I’m excited to take on what’s next and build the vision,” said Rudes.
L’Agence is in approximately 300 doors in the U.S., with major retailers such as Intermix, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.