Jeffrey Rudes is an old acquaintance to anyone working in the denim business. He first entered the market with his jean company Paris 2000 back in 1977. Originally based in New York, Rudes then moved on to Los Angeles where he (co-)founded apparel and denim brands such as Area Code, AGOLDE or L’Agence before bringing to life J Brand in 2004, together with stylist Susie Crippen. J Brand became one of THE premium denim brands of the era, particularly being linked to the skinny jean trend and regular design collaboration with the likes of Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane , or Topshop. In 2012, Fast Retailing acquired a majority stake in J Brand and two years later, Rüdes left the company.
But he hasn’t kicked his heels since and instead turned his head more towards the luxury segment: with his self-titled menswear label Jeffrey Rüdes (yes, the "ü" is there intentionally). Now in its fifth season, the line wants to “complement Hollywood glamour with the sophisticated ease of masculine dressing”, providing men with an essential and luxurious wardrobe, great fits and quality fabrics. The first Jeffrey Rüdes flagship store opened in New York City (57 Greene Street) in 2015. The line is furthermore stocked at a selection of US and international multi-brand boutiques and department stores with price points starting at USD 340 for a shirt and reaching up to USD 4,500 for leather jackets.
On occasion of Jeffrey Rüdes' recent fall/winter’17 presentation during men’s fashion week in Paris, we had a quick chat to spokesman Malcolm Carfrae (formerly heading the Global Communications at Calvin Klein and most recently Ralph Lauren) about the direction of the brand.
Who exactly is the Jeffrey Rüdes line addressing?
The collection is addressed to an evolved luxury consumer who has real understanding of premium quality and who is looking to build his own wardrobe of stable pieces that stand outside of seasonal trends. The Jeffrey Rüdes customer is a cosmopolitan connoisseur, demographically ranging from early 30s to 60s. He is after the perfect fit, the best fabrications, and garments designed in an essential and modern way. Our customer has always good understanding of product evolution. Every season, he is looking to shop his favorite pieces and favorite fits that he will always find in store in an updated and interesting interpretation…whether it be a novelty fabric or a new detail concept.
Having such a strong background in denim – why did Jeff turn towards more traditional premium menswear now?
Although the final consumer of this collection is different from Jeffrey’s past projects, the principle behind the creation is of a similar nature: to create an emotional experience between men and clothes. By creating the best fitting jacket and wardrobe staples, Jeff wants to give every man the opportunity to play with his persona and look ”transformed”, whether it be an impeccable formal look or a more casual outfit. Jeff’s clever understanding of the evolution of men’s luxury market also played an important role in the launch of this project. Male luxury customers are moving away from seasonal fashion phenomena. They don’t want to invest in garments that are volatile and whose aesthetics are runway driven. This new luxury customer, who has an evolved vision of fashion is looking for products that have a timeless quality, still feeling relevant to the present moment. The new customer that Jeff is targeting is eager for the perfect balance between premium quality, functionality, versatility and the cool factor. He wants to own every piece of his wardrobe for longer than a season…and he wants to relate to that product following its evolution through time.