Friday saw the opening of the first European store of the US premium denim brand True Religion Brand Jeans. The 190-sq.-meter shop opened in Cologne, Germany on the young shopping strip of Ehrenstrasse.

The project is part of a joint venture between German distribution agency Unifa Premium GmbH and True Religion Apparel Inc. which since February 2010 has been operating as True Religion Brand Jeans Germany GmbH. According to Reinhard Haase, managing director of the parent company Unifa GmbH, Düsseldorf, there is a plan to open monobrand stores in Germany’s largest cities including Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin. Two should open in 2010.

“We do not want to put less energy into the relationship with our retail clients. Opening stores is to strengthen the brand even more in the German-speaking markets,” said Haase.

True Religion currently has 380 retail clients in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The new store offers the full range of True Religion denim products for men, women and kids as well as tops, shoes, accessories and a fragrance. Haase added: “It is exactly the same collection that is sold in the US but of course for the European market we need to extend parts of it to offer pieces for colder weather, and we together with True Religion will work on the tops to make them look sexier. In autumn we will also present a new exclusive vintage line with retail prices starting at €500.”

Within the next two months True Religion will open a store in London, in this case under the direction of the US parent company. So far, the brand operates 71 stores in the US alone.

—Sabine Kühnl