(image courtesy of WWD)
According to WWD, J Brand is finally making the move into sportswear. I say finally because when compared to other highly successful premium denim brands such as 7 For All Mankind or Diesel, the move was inevitable. However, the brand is going for a different angle than it's contemporaries offering items ranging from $200 to a whopping $1500.
The brand has already differentiated itself somewhat by marketing itself as the go-to brand for the luxury market, even though it's price points are on par with other premium denim brands. This strategy will continue with it's sportswear line which will be headed up by Vera Wang, DKNY veteran Donald Oliver. Although the collection won't be given a different name, an all new design team was brought in for the line.
WWD describes the collection as such:
"J Brand’s debut sportswear collection is clean, minimal and full of unexpected details. The palette is muted in black, white, lilac, heather gray, sky blue and peach. With the exception of some striped linings, prints are absent.
Despite his knowledge of denim, Oliver limited the use of the rugged fabric to the selvage taping sewn on the epaulets of cotton-silk chambray shirts. Instead, he preferred unusual but rarefied fabrics, such as garment-dyed Cupro and cotton blended with Japanese paper. He also applied treatments that J Brand uses regularly on jeans to nondenim fabrics. For example, he crafted wax-coated cotton twill into trousers with an elastic waistband.
Intended to complement denim, several of the jackets and tops could be tossed nonchalantly over jeans. There’s a cropped khaki mackintosh coat cinched at the waist with gray cotton taping, as well as a hand-knit bolero sweater."
The company plans on expanding into men's sportwear in the next year or so and eventually move into shoes and accessories. In addition, CEO Jeff Rudes intends to open flagships in every major city of importance within the industry such as Milan, Tokyo and Paris. Can you imagine it? A J Brand flagship. They've always seemed somewhat boutiquey to me even though they sell at large retailers. It's going to be interesting to see what kind of concept they come up with for their flagship. Something tells me it will be Alexander Wang-like but more attainable for the masses.
The line will launch in 2012 and will only be available at 60 of it's current 2500 retailers, selling alongside brands like Helmut Lang and Rag & Bone.