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Thoughts from a denim mastermind

L agence autumn 19 (12)

Jeff Rudes, CEO of LA womenswear brand L’Agence, knows a thing or two about denim, having also co-founded jeans label J Brand in 2005. 

Jeffrey rudes l agence

Los Angeles womenswear brand L’Agence is best known for its denim offer, and creates womenswear designs inspired by the Californian and Parisian lifestyles.

The brand today has more than 500 global stockists, including Net-a-Porter, Trilogy and Harrods, and says  its sales have been growing between 30% and 40% year on year since launch.

In September 2019, L’Agence opened a pop-up in Selfridges’ Denim Studio in London.  

Co-founder Jeff Rudes helped set up L’Agence in 2008, before launching an eponymous menswear brand in 2015. He put the label on hiatus to rejoin L’Agence in 2017 as CEO.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Make a cup of coffee and walk the dog.

L agence autumn 19 (2)

What was your first job?

I launched the Paris 2000 denim brand in 1978. 

How would you describe the brand in one sentence?

A California lifestyle with a French attitude.

What is your favourite place to shop?

Maxfield [the luxury LA boutique]

Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?

A nautical jacket from Blanc Bleu in Saint Tropez in the perfect shade of blue.

L agence autumn 19 (7)

Emails or phone calls?

Both.

Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?

The discipline of saying no, when something is not the right fit for the brand.

What would be your ideal office/meeting space?

An open, industrial environment.

What’s your favourite part of the creative process?

Sourcing fabrics.

What has been your proudest moment since you joined the launched?

Creating a product that is desirable in the marketplace and satisfies our customer.

What’s the last book you read?

Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing by W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

Last holiday?

A summer holiday in Saint Tropez.

L agence autumn 19 (6)

Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?

Hedi Slimane of Celine and Kim Jones of Dior.

What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?

Having fashion seasons start early, which makes it difficult for stores to complete their season.

One piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Keep it simple.

Who do you turn to when you need advice?

My business partner, Albert Schami.

What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Playing tennis with my fiancée, riding motorcycles on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), dinner at Delilah in Hollywood.

What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?

Opening additional stores in SoHo [New York] and Miami, as well as new product launches of shoes and handbags.

 

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