NEW YORK — Damon Dash may have left Rocawear in the hands of Jay-Z, but with a new ad campaign flaunting his own stable of brands, Dash is ready to show his lifestyle is as decadent as ever.
“It’s been harder than I thought to bring it back up,” he said last month, just after moving his office and showrooms into the former Tommy Hilfiger building here at 25 West 39th Street. Dash’s office, which is still being remodeled, used to be Hilfiger’s office. “There’s a new sheriff in town,” he said, showing off his new digs.
When he sold his 25 percent stake in Rocawear, the company he helped build into a $350 million brand, in September, he took with him everything that was his: the young designer line done by his wife, Rachel Roy; the Damon Dash Collection of men’s suits; Armedale vodka; Pro-Keds; Tiret watches and jewelry, and State Property men’s sportswear.
Now Dash is out to prove he’s back in the game big-time. He is working on the launch of a new casual men’s sportswear brand called CEO Collection, which should be ready for holiday retailing. After he gets the men’s wear off the ground, Dash said he plans to introduce a junior line, which Roy will help design. Dash claimed all of his brands are performing well — from the relaunch of Rachel Roy as a higher-end line to Pro-Keds growing from sales of $8 million to a $22 million business in just one year.
To show his commitment to his business, Damon Dash Enterprises, he’ll launch a new ad campaign for fall featuring his brands (except Rachel Roy, where efforts will go toward her store opening in the fall, he said). The campaign, shot by Steven Klein under the creative direction of David Lipman, will highlight Dash’s brands through a glimpse into his lifestyle. The scene shows imagery inspired by classic Hollywood films like “The Godfather” and “Once Upon a Time in America.” Model Carolyn Murphy — provocatively posed in eveningwear and lingerie, wearing Tiret watches and jewelry — plays the strong female foil next to Dash, who also appears in the campaign wearing pieces from the new Damon Dash Collection, CEO Collection and Pro-Keds. Rapper Beanie Sigel is featured in the campaign wearing State Property.
“This campaign is my world,” Dash said on the set of the shoot last week at Chelsea Piers. “I want you to feel like you are walking into my world when you see these images.”
Lipman, who worked with Dash and photographer Mario Testino on his last campaign at Rocawear, said the latest ads are all Dash.
“The inspiration here really was Damon and the many moods of Damon,” Lipman explained. “There’s the serious side, the tough side, the prankster, the ambitious side. I really wanted to play up his toughness in this campaign by showing the decadence of his lifestyle with the rich colors on the set, the use of fur and diamonds, streetwear mixed with suits. It’s aspirational, but this is Damon’s world.”
The campaign will break in fall fashion and lifestyle magazines such as Vibe, Fader, XXL, Slam, Complex and Vanity Fair, among others. The company would not disclose the fall ad budget.