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Monday, August 31, 2009

TRUE RELIGION – THE JEANS CO. THAT BECAME AN EMPIRE










TEXT, VIVIAN G. KELLY
Runway Images, Dan & Corinna Lecca


Time & Place: Mid-July at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim week,
In the tents at the Raleigh

While we were there for the purpose of covering swim, CEO and Head Designer, JEFFREY LUBBELL gave us pause. It’s rare that a company has the fortune to be headed up by an individual who is: glamorous, a good designer, has a strong a vision, and can talk knowledgeably about the numbers.
Admittedly, we had to mentally kick ourselves to avoid falling into the temptation of pegging T.R. “just another LA jeans company”. That was BEFORE we spoke with Mr. Lubell backstage ½ an hour before the True Religion Swim show went off.

BACKSTAGE WITH CEO AND FOUNDER JEFFREY LUBELL –
FE: What’s True Religion all about?

JEFFREY LUBELL: My inspiration is the seventies, the [Grateful] Dead. I’m living in that time.

FE: What are some of your products’ biggest selling points?

J. LUBELL: Our aesthetic is reflected in the fit, the comfort, the fabric, and the styling.


FE: You’re really a big business. How many stores do you have?

JL: WE have around 200 stores. We’re a publicly traded company. Wall Street has guidance for us to have 67 stores by year-end.

A STRONG RETAIL BET/ON THE FLOOR
We did some investigating and turns out T.R. has held up pretty well in what amounts to a financial tsunami in the retail sector these last 24 month.[see chart].
The sales associate manning the groovy SUBURBAN COUTURE boutique in Ridgefield, CT stated that she and her “very curvy” Mother both have found “a perfect fit” and only wear T.R. jeans. [No, the store carries quite a few lines other than T. R. so we didn’t view this as a sales ploy – at all.]
At Saks Fifth Avenue in Stamford, CT, there were some T.R. lace front jeans on the sales rack, but we dare you to mention any brand that HASN’T been on sale [other than Chanel or Louis Vuitton – maybe].
Our last stop – Macy’s, at the Danbury Fair Mall [CT]. We hit the fragrance counter, sampled T.R. men’s and women’s and purchased the men’s roll on deodorant. Cost, $15 for 2.75 oz. The woody fragrance brought back memories of s our friends’ cooler than cool older college brothers on their way out to a round of parties, as we looked on wishing we were @ 5 years older.

To read more about this brand, visit the official website, www.truereligionbrandjeans.com

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