Kaia Gerber Hudson jeans

Hudson Jeans has reached out beyond the denim industry for its next president.

The Los Angeles-based brand has named Maria Borromeo, the former cofounder and chief executive officer of Thakoon LLC, its new president. She succeeds Matthew Fior, a former Lucky Brands executive who was appointed to that position last April.

Peter Kim, Hudson’s founder and vice chairman, will work closely with Borromeo to “position Hudson as a global lifestyle brand and align [its] strategic vision with its core culture and values,” said Michael Buckley, ceo of Differential Brands Group, which owns Hudson Jeans.

“Maria…brings strategic leadership and experience with a record of success of growing and presiding over a brand from its inception,” Buckley added. “Under Maria’s leadership, we look forward to maximizing the growth potential for Hudson not only though implementation of a strategic vision that aligns with the core Hudson culture and values, but also capitalizing on new product and marketing initiatives and strengthening the brand’s digital and direct-to-consumer strategy.”

Hudson, which Buckley said is “performing well,” is slowly introducing some jean-friendly sportswear classifications such as T-shirts, leather jackets and knit and woven tops and that assortment will be expanded for fall and beyond.

He said the marketing campaigns for the brand — which featured Kaia Gerber and Gabriel Day-Lewis in 2017 and Amelia Gray Hamlin and Nathan Mitchell this year — resulted in more than three billion impressions last year and one billion so far this year.

In addition, the plan is to open Hudson retail stores as well. Buckley said the company has worked with a store-design firm on “some conceptual ideas for the first store,” and Borromeo will be tasked with selecting the first location for a full-price store and getting it open “as soon as is realistically possible.”

Buckley said the overall vision is to open both full-price and outlet sores for the brand “while continuing to grow our premium department and specialty store wholesale business and drive our digital e-commerce platform.” He said there are still 40 to 50 top malls, lifestyle centers and street locations where it would make sense to open a Hudson store and once the first unit opens, the company “will decide as a group how fast we will roll out.”

At Thakoon, Borromeo led all aspects of the business’ development, culminating in its acquisition and shift to a direct-to-consumer model with Silas Chou’s Bright Fame Fashion. While there, she created and executed the long-term strategic vision for the women’s luxury brand and spearheaded its growth. Prior to Thakoon, Borromeo worked with Alexander McQueen and Etro.

Borromeo said: “It’s a privilege to join such a seasoned brand and to continue to build upon the vision of Peter Kim, its founder. I’m eager to bring all of my experience and energy to further the company’s prestige while tapping into the resources of Differential Brands Group to evolve the business model and strategically position Hudson as a world-class brand in the context of today’s global market.”

Kim pointed to Borromeo’s “extensive background with global luxury brands [that] will be invaluable as we execute not only on our strategic growth plans, but also on pioneering an evolved business model that addresses a rapidly changing retail environment and speaks to today’s and tomorrow’s consumer. I look forward to partnering with her and the rest of the Hudson and Differential team to position ourselves as a global lifestyle brand.”

In addition to its U.S. business, Hudson is sold in more than 20 countries and Buckley said the plan is to work with distributors and licensees to expand through Hudson stores over time.

In other news, Differential reported late Tuesday that first-quarter net losses widened to $4.1 million, or 43 cents a share, from $2.4 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization slipped to $1.5 million from $2.5 million.

Sales for the three months ended March 31 declined 3.2 percent to $38.8 million. Within that, wholesale sales fell 7.9 percent to $28.7 million.

Buckley said: “Our stores at both Robert Graham and Swims outperformed during the first quarter by posting significant comparable-store sales gains. The consumer direct segment produces margins that are on average 27 points better than wholesale, thus we did not see as much margin erosion from the wholesale segment decline. Department store brick-and-mortar shoppers continue to slowly migrate toward e-commerce channels. This e-commerce migration has had some impact on Hudson’s channel distribution.” 

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