J Brand co-founder Susie Crippen returns as creative director
Will J Brand rediscover the spirit of its golden years with Crippen’s help? Fast Retailing is betting on it, entrusting creative direction of the premium denim label to the American co-founder of the brand.
The world has changed a lot since Crippen left J Brand in 2010 and this year she shuttered the women’s lifestyle label she founded after her departure. Meanwhile J Brand itself has faced difficult headwinds and appears to be banking on Crippen to revive its fortunes.
At the close of its last business year in August, Fast Retailing said that among its Global Brands segment (also including Comptoir des Cotonniers, Theory, GU and Princesse tam.tam), the label was “generating persistent losses.” The group reported a ¥13.8bn impairment loss at J Brand at the time.
Co-founding J Brand in 2004 with the label’s operations director Jeff Rudes, Crippen was the creative driving force until she sold a significant stake in the business in 2010.
Having closed her own brand Fast Retailing clearly sees an opportunity to get back some of the buzz around the label and hopefully return it to profitability.
The company is betting big on denim across various price points and last month said it had established the Denim Innovation Center, the group’s first facility to focus on research and development of denim fabric, in Los Angeles, California.
It aims to bring together specialists in jeans development from J Brand and other Fast Retailing Group companies to develop jeans using innovative technologies and materials. The first products will be available for autumn/winter 2017/18.
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