Having worked as costume designers on movies such as “Spider-Man 3,” “The Breakup” and “Just Go With It,” Geoffrey Roiz and twin sisters Nina and Clare Hallworth know how to make celebrities look good in clothes. But when it came to jeans, Roiz said, “There were things we still wanted that we couldn’t find for our clients.” So they took matters into their own hands and launched Hoyle Jackson (named after two streets in the North of England, near the Hallworth’s hometown), a men’s and women’s denim line that they sold exclusively to their celebrity clientele, including A-listers such as Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal. That was in 2007. Now, after a retail stint at Ron Herman, Hoyle Jackson’s men’s collection is launching at Bloomingdale’s, specifically its high-profile doors at Santa Monica Place, San Francisco and New York’s 59th Street. (Kalifornia Jean Bar, a three-door specialty chain in California and Nevada, also picked up the men’s looks for spring). A party was held at the Santa Monica location on March 18 to unveil Hoyle Jackson, where the brand experienced a 75 percent sell-through in two hours. “The jeans are well-styled, the fit is terrific and it is extremely comfortable to wear,” said Kevin Harter, Bloomingdale’s vice president, men’s fashion direction. “Celebrity factor never hurts but at the end of the day it comes down to the style and fit.”
Upholding the brand’s “clean, classic” mantra, Hoyle Jackson’s new styles — jeans, pants and shirts — are fitted but not tight, while some are mildly distressed for that authentically lived-in look. Retail prices range from $130 and $160. Roiz said the women’s styles will relauch for fall at locations that currently are being determined.
— Hallie von Ammon
As the owner of Court, a specialty boutique in New York’s NoLIta neighborhood, Nicole Tondre saw firsthand what styles of denim her downtown clientele gravitated toward. Thus, she says, it was a natural progression to start her own line, so Tondre designed a few pairs and began testing them out last summer. “It was a great opportunity to use our customer base as fit models, seeing the jeans on different shapes and sizes, and making pattern corrections before we put our debut wholesale collection into production,” said Tondre, who has a background in technical design and has worked for brands including Nautica and Calvin Klein.
Her new collection, which she also named Court, hits stores this week at Oak in New York and Villains in San Francisco, and is already available at Court. The brand, inspired by her Nolita surroundings but also peppered with a dash of Seventies Paris, features 11 high-waisted (but not too high) styles including a skinny, straight, boot and belle cut, and comes in 15 washes that Tondre insists are without tricks or excess branding. “The shapes are really on point and it’s going to sit well in our A.OK department next to brands like Cheap Monday and our in-house label,” said Bear Smith, brand manager for Oak.
As for price points, Tondre says it was a priority to keep them under $165 retail. “My customers struggled with that $200 to $350 ticket on designer denim, but they also weren’t going for the lower priced lines as they lacked a certain sophistication and attention to fit,” she said. “With Court we’re offering a designer jean at half that price.”
— Kim Friday
What to do with more than 2,000 pairs of vintage jeans that you’ve collected and customized for decades? If you’re Par Lundqvist, you gather your friends and start your own denim brand.
Founded in 2009 in Melbourne, Australia, along with Stephen Little and Richard Bell, Neuw’s jeans are made from original vintage patterns, as well as new ones based on Lundqvist’s personal collection. Each pair goes through a process the trio dubbed “Vintage Revision,” in which the jeans are recut for a modern yet authentic fit. Materials are also key. “We have an amazing fabric story coming up called Black Colour,” noted Bell. “It has a black weft, which basically means the pieces will get darker over time instead of fading.”
Neuw made its debut in the U.S. in early March and already is picking up speed. “It’s only been on the floor for a few weeks but it’s doing really well,” said Jennifer Althouse, buyer for the World Denim Bar at American Rag Cie in Los Angeles. “And since I have 85 brands, that’s really exciting.”
Neuw’s premium group retails from $199 to $250 and the more budget-friendly core collection, from $129 to $159. “They fall into the more fashionable denim category for me,” noted Alan Fernandez, men’s buyer at Atrium in New York. “But the construction looks really good, and for the guy that wants to push the envelope a little more, they come in at a really sweet price point.”
The Neuw team is clearly serious about denim, but nevertheless is doing business with a bit of a wink. Last year, for instance, they dropped logoed blocks of ice in front of their local Melbourne library with 1,000 Australian dollars frozen inside. Twitter followers were given the location and showed up en mass with ice picks and hammers to dig out the cash, the video of which now appears on Neuw’s Facebook page.