Simon Kneen

J.Hilburn, a direct seller of men’s wear, is beefing up its staff, adding veteran design Simon Kneen to the fold as chief creative officer.

In this new position, Kneen will oversee design, styling and showroom presentations to retail stores for the Dallas-based company.

The U.K.-born Kneen has a long history in men’s wear. He served as creative design director for the Retail Brand Alliance, overseeing both Brooks Brothers and Adrienne Vittadini before being recruited by Banana Republic to serve as executive vice president of design and creative director. He was with Banana for six years but left in 2013, at which point he collaborated with brands including MadMen, L’Wren Scott and Narciso Rodriguez. Before coming to the States, Kneen was head designer for Balmain in the late Nineties.

“Simon is an innovative and experienced leader of men’s design and is a perfect fit for our brand,” said J.Hilburn’s chief executive officer Andy Janowski. “I am excited to have his creative vision and leadership as we build the future of custom-made total lifestyle fashion.”

Janowski, the former chief operating officer of Burberry and ceo of Smythson, joined the company last April. Since that time, he has been bolstering the staff by bringing Joe Dixon on board as chief operating officer and promoting James Burgess to vice president of stylist development.

Janowski took the reins J.Hilburn from cofounder and ceo Veeral Rathod. The company was founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Hil Davis, who recruited Rathod, an investment banker, to join him in the business. Davis left the company in 2013.

In 2009, J.Hilburn secured institutional investment from Battery Ventures, a venture capital firm, and since then, it has been joined by two other investors, the names of which have not been revealed. The company employs nearly 2,000 stylists across all 50 states who provide one-on-one tailoring services. Its main competitors include Knot Standard and Tom James.

Kneen said he was looking forward to “building a strong collection point-of-view across the various price points, using my extensive knowledge of Italian fabrics and tailoring.” He added that he was attracted to the company’s direct-to-consumer business model “that provides a very high-quality and customized product at a much more accessible price point. This marries to one of my own philosophies around design that everyone should be able to wear beautiful pieces without breaking the bank and that can be worn well beyond one season.”

Suit prices range from $798 to $1,898. A new, lower-priced collection — with suits starting at $598 — will launch on Feb. 19.

Kneen will continue as creative director of his own brand, Grey New York Grey New England, a luxury accessories collection made in Italy.

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