Daniel Guez is back.
He’s reintroducing Dylan George — initially a high-end denim brand (named after his son) that he launched in 2008. He was 31 years old at the time, starting his first endeavor since leaving People’s Liberation, a company he created in 2004 — which included Justin Timberlake’s William Rast collection — and took public.
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“As everyone is aware, when we launched in 2008 with $200 jeans, the economy’s like, wait a minute, we need to readjust,” Guez said. “That’s when there was the economic crash. So, I ended up sheltering the brand.”
Dylan George is now reimagined as a premium label with multiple categories, offering consumers a complete wardrobe “A to Z,” explained Guez: “I felt that there was a huge void in the market [for] a cohesive, one place to shop, head to toe.”
He’s unveiling men’s, a capsule out Jan. 15, with an opening price point of $395 (and, on the higher end, a $2,200 leather jacket). Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou — an investor — is the face of the campaign.
“This partnership came from an amazing synergy,” said Hounsou, who will next be seen in Matthew Vaughn’s anticipated “The King’s Man.”
The longtime friends, Guez and Hounsou, ran into each other while out at dinner and reconnected. Hounsou mentioned his ambition of starting his own line, and Guez suggested they team up. “This idea of collaborating on a clothing line has been in my mind for some time.”
“Everybody, when they design a line, has an inspiration, and Djimon, for us, is the quintessential definition of rugged sophistication,” Guez said. “A guy who’s really tough, badass, but yet he’s sophisticated.”
Hounsou revisited his modeling days for the campaign, shot in Malibu.
“It was quite exhilarating,” he said of the experience. “It was a full-circle, 360-degree throwback from my early days in Paris doing fashion.” He credits Thierry Mugler for encouraging him to model and bringing him to California for the first time.
“Every aspect of it felt really organic, and these are clothes that I wear every day, any day,” Hounsou said of the line. He was attracted to its versatility — items include a reversible selvedge jean jacket — and elements of sustainability. Ninety percent of the 35-piece collection is biodegradable, using recyclable materials and fibers, according to Guez. The denim utilizes Japanese and Italian selvedge.
“And everything is done in one place,” added Hounsou. “You get to design on one side, and on the other side, you get to execute your vision.”
From sketches to finishes, the entirety has been produced under one roof in Guez’s 50,000-square-foot warehouse located in the outskirts of Los Angeles in Vernon, Calif. The entrepreneur had already been using the space as a private label manufacturer for high-end brands when he decided to reestablish Dylan George. (Last year, amid the pandemic, was one of the most successful years in business for the factory, he revealed.) It houses 150 machines, employing 75 — including 50 sewers.
“A lot of premium brands are producing in China or Italy or whatever, and, you know, right now they’re being stuck in the port,” Guez said of the benefits of in-house production. “There’s no reliability or accountability. What gets people excited is we’re controlling our own destiny.…We keep our eye on every needle, every thread and see every product that goes out. We’re controlling our destiny from quality to production to finishing — which is the most important thing — and fit.” The fit for the denim alone took nine months, he added.
The plan is to launch direct-to-consumer as well as in 25 to 50 specialty shops across the U.S. and in two select department stores with limited doors — though partners have yet to be set. Then, next holiday season, he’ll showcase a women’s line and, further down the line, he may explore footwear and accessories.