Jeff Lubell’s new Made-in-LA luxury brand endorsed by Lenny Kravitz – WWD

In the span of just over a decade in the early 2000s, Jeffrey Lubell made premium jeans, launching True Religion at a 200 square foot store in Manhattan Beach and selling it for $ 835 million. dollars in 2013.

Today, he hopes to do it again, but this time in luxury, with Cost of Freedom, a brand he calls “hillbilly couture”.

“I think this is going to be bigger than True Religion,” he said in his downtown Los Angeles showroom, showing off a stunning pair of black leather overalls, cowboy shirts studded silk and the stretch suede flare pants that made a Lenny fan. Kravitz, who wore the mark during Art Basel and for several recent television appearances.

Cost of Freedom launched during New York Fashion Week in February 2020, just before COVID-19 hit, and sells out in 18 doors worldwide.

So far, Lubell is a one-man show doing all the design, sales and marketing for the brand, which is fraught with distress and hand embellishment – Nudie Cohen meets the boho East West Leather, with a hint of Alessandro Michele in the style of glam zigzag sequin pants made for the stage.

With people keen to break out of the sweats of the pandemic era but still want to be comfortable, Lubell sees the denim category on the rise, and it’s at the heart of the brand – albeit with little logo or pocket detail this time around – from $ 395. His second wife, Carrie, a former Miss Teen USA, is his fit model.

“I wear a skinny, a flare, a bell, a super high waist, a medium waist, and I’m just starting with a low waist now because I think the trend is happening. I don’t know, we’ll see, ”said Lubell, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY and moved to LA in 1976, when he first carried flares.

The t-shirts and knitwear have graphics reminiscent of Basquiat of the Statue of Liberty smoking a cigarette and drinking a martini. And there are special pieces, like hand-painted leather jackets for $ 8,900. Lubell said he sold three of them at a trunk show at the Kingdom in Calabasas.

“Manny de H. Lorenzo gave me a monster first order, $ 1 million,” he boasts of the support he saw in SoCal. And it was David Mulvaney, stylist / owner of the Church store in LA, who also stocks the brand, who introduced Kravitz.

Although True Religion jeans were what took off, helping to revive the designer denim market in the early 2000s, Lubell originally wanted this brand to be high-end, he said.

By the time he stepped down as CEO in 2013, he didn’t even want to wear it anymore. “I was disappointed, I wanted to relaunch distribution, rethink the brand and the customers. The brand was everywhere, who knows how they got it. I had $ 600 million in the bank, so we could have pulled out. It just wasn’t fun anymore. The problems of true religion continued; the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

His game plan for Cost of Freedom involves distribution to key independent shops and a retail store of his own. He recently signed a lease for 1,600 square feet of space on West Third Street in LA

“I’m creating a Studio 54 buzz around this brand,” he said with his signature flash. “I think there is a great time for anyone to create a fresh, new and compelling suction product.”

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