Clean lines, flattering fits, and refined washes have made J Brand a cult favorite since the denim line’s launch in 2003. My first skinny jeans were J Brand, and I love their logo-free, minimal aesthetic.
The label’s been doing fine through the recession, but today I got some bad news. J Brand’s Houlihan cargoes are selling out like crazy. They shipped 75,000 pairs since the end of January and have another 40,000 on back order. They’ve been spotted on celebs like Ciara (via), Jessica Alba (via), and Rihanna (via). And they’re basically an adaptation on Balmain’s cargo pants (via), for about a tenth of the price.
I learned these facts from what reads like J Brand’s obit today at the NYTimes. Cathy Horyn discusses J Brand’s best seller with Bloomingdale’s Frank Doroff, who says the style has reinvigorated the department store’s denim category. I miss J Brand’s tight distribution from a few years ago. Their business seemed successful because you could never find the jeans on sale, and they didn’t have to worry about knock offs and consumer fatigue like ubiquitous labels 7 or True Religion. I didn’t see the end coming so soon.
It’s possible that the denim floor at Bloomingdale’s is the ideal afterlife for burgeoning brands, and they have to die a little to blaze through to a better place. I’m just sad to see J Brand go.