LOS ANGELES — Lynne Koplin has left her position as president of J Brand.
A straight-talking and experienced executive who previously held comparable posts at True Religion and Tommy Bahama’s women’s business, Koplin didn’t specify what she intends to do next professionally. J Brand said Koplin left to pursue other opportunities, but it declined to comment on plans for her successor.
Established in 2004 by Jeff Rudes and Susie Crippen, Los Angeles-based J Brand is now owned by Fast Retailing, the Japanese conglomerate that also operates fashion businesses such as Uniqlo, Theory and Helmut Lang. Koplin joined the premium denim and sportswear brand in March 2014. Two months later, Rudes, who had been serving as chief executive officer, left the company. Andrew Rosen, ceo of Theory and Helmut Lang, then assumed the role of interim ceo.
As J Brand’s president, Koplin applied her experience as merchandiser and planner to better organize the company, especially as it strove to expand its wholesale operations and open freestanding stores. While it forged ahead with a shop-in-shop strategy in Japan, talks of building its own retail base in the U.S. have yet to materialize into a flagship store.
Under her tenure, the label increased its efforts to secure a foothold in the sportswear category. To stay competitive during the most recent denim slump, when many consumers switched from jeans to yoga leggings, it hired Mary Bruno from Ralph Lauren to head the design department. It also lowered prices of spring 2015 items such as T-shirts and leather jackets by as much as 37 percent. For the spring 2016 season, Bruno broadened the offerings beyond blue jeans to include linen dresses and bandeau denim tops.
Even as signs point to a gradual recovery in the high-end denim sector, Fast Retailing said in October that J Brand posted “a higher operating loss after being hit hard by the downturn in the U.S. premium denim market” for its fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.