In its ongoing quest to reach the “cool-girl” customer, AG is adding Margaret Maldonado to its coterie of influencers who have included the likes of Daria Werbowy.
The South Gate, Calif.-based premium denim brand has hired Maldonado, the founder of fashion line L’Agence and a namesake fashion and beauty talent agency that once represented stylists such as Petra Flannery, Jen Rade and George Kotsiopoulos, to oversee all of its women’s sportswear.
With more than $200 million in annual sales, AG has established itself over the past 16 years as a key resource in the premium jeans business, selling to retailers including Intermix, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. It hasn’t quite found the right formula for its sportswear, however.
The company recently moved to building cachet among a hipper contemporary customer. Daria Werbowy fronted its ad campaigns for four seasons until this fall. Now the brand hopes Maldonado can make more room for AG in the wardrobes of tastemakers.
“She really knows what our customer and, in particular, the cool girl wants to be wearing,” said Sam Ku, president and creative director of AG. “I think she’s got a really good eye for those key items and trends.”
Maldonado joined AG three months ago. She succeeded Shayla Guy, an alumna of Equipment Femme, who had helped AG to revamp its women’s tops and create polka dot silk blouses and other items for Alexa Chung’s collaboration with the brand last year. Prior to Guy, AG tried to tackle apparel outside of its bread-and-butter jeans under different executives. Ksubi alumnus Mark Wiesmayr served as design director for about 18 months from 2013 to 2014 with a mission to increase its tops output, and T Luxury founder Joe Krafka managed the tops division from 2010 to 2013.
One thing that AG has learned through the previous shifts is how difficult it can be to build a tops collection that complements the jeans. In the past efforts, “maybe they weren’t as cohesive,” said Johnathan Crocker, vice president of global communications at AG.
Maldonado has purview over knit and woven tops, dresses, outerwear and “pretty much all categories that are not denim,” according to Ku. Although she didn’t follow the traditional route in the fashion industry, she started L’Agence in 2008. She eventually picked up retailer Ron Herman and J Brand cofounder Jeff Rudes as business partners. Her first collection for AG will arrive in stores in summer 2017.
“We think it’s a great step in the right direction to continue to evolve the AG brand and grow other categories,” Ku said.