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François Girbaud joins J Brand

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today Jun 11, 2014
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François Girbaud is returning to the world of fashion…this time to work at J Brand. Since the bankruptcy of his company, the iconoclastic designer specialized in denim hasn’t stopped working, in particular becoming heavily involved with laser technologies and water conservation, but he hasn’t been designing in the industry’s sense of the word.

François Girbaud with Marithé (photo AFP)


It was his aura and creative spirit that interested the head of Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yani. According to sources, the Japanese boss wanted to hire the French designer at the senior level of his company and in particular for Uniqlo as well.

In the end, however, Giraud has resurfaced at the brand acquired by the group in November 2012, even if the position as well as the terms of the hire have yet to be clarified.

Girbaud admits that he was attracted by a post located in Los Angeles, where he has a great number French “friends” from the world of denim such as Jimmy Taverniti, as well as Italians like Adriano Goldschmied. He was also wooed by the head of Fast Retailing, who certainly has a reputation as a visionary.

Girbaud is joining J Brand in the middle of a big shake-up. First of all, the man who founded the Californian premium denim brand in 2004, Jeff Rudes - the “J” in J Brand - left the company last May. There is, as such, clearly a good reason behind hiring Girbaud. J Brand’s chief financial officer, Thimio Sotos, also left the brand in March. At the same time, Lynne Koplin was hired from True Religion, given the title of president in charge of retail, sales, merchandizing, and e-commerce.

Tadashi Yinai handed over general management at J Brand to Andrew Rosen, who has already served at the head of the Fast Retailing brands Theory and Helmut Lang. Girbaud knows Rosen well. His father, Carl Rosen, was the one who introduced the brand Marithé & François Girbaud to the US in the 70s. That’s as much to say that J Brand’s new creative director saw Andrew Rosen grow up…

Since the acquisition by Fast Retailing, J Brand has undergone a lot of changes. Known for its jeans since its founding, it has added ready-to-wear lines in aiming to become a full-fledged fashion brand.

J Brand is sold today in around 2,000 stores around the world and has taken its first steps into the Japanese markets with its first store in the country opened last October in Osaka.

In France, the brand is distributed by the showroom Robert Dodd. It is available in stores such as L’Eclaireur, L’Espionne (in the Palais des Congrès at porte Maillot in Paris), Kabuki on rue Etienne Marcel, Montaigne Market on avenue Montaigne, etc.

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