"Bohemians have long been Lucky's kind of people – fearless and independent. We designed this collection with those creative and free-spirited types in mind, crafting every item to be a piece of self-expression," said Charlie Cole, vice president of online marketing for Lucky Brand.
The concept is a contrast to the current ubiquitous ‘80s-inspired skinny jeans trend and hipster styles that are all about irony. Lucky’s bohemian outlook seems to be more about optimism, which may be just the right thing after a tough winter and as economic recovery continues.
The new collection (in stores on Feb. 6th) is enhanced by a collaboration with textile designer John Robshaw, who specializes in traditional Indian block printing. Originally trained as a fine artist, Robshaw fell in love with Indian artisans' fabric making and works with various workshops in India to produce his line of fabrics, home linens and accessories and travel items.
“I was excited to work with Lucky Brand as I feel we share a passion to create new and fresh pieces, while retaining sense of tradition, of the handmade. Textiles become intimate companions in daily life, whether as a pillow, bed cover or sarong, and now I have been given the opportunity to express those intimacies through apparel,” said Robshaw of the collaboration.
Robshaw has produced a limited collection.
of handcrafted prints in muted colors for skirts, scarves, tops and belts for the new Lucky collection that wouldn’t be out of place at Woodstock.
For all those fashionistas perhaps not wanting to go that far back but wishing that skinny jeans had never returned, Lucky recently introduced its ‘70s-inspired Charlie Flair jean, which features a low rise and slim fit and could have graced the backside of Farrah Fawcett back in the day. This jean, however, offers the modern magic of two-way stretch.
Not only is Lucky designing its denim in vintage styles, it is increasing its effort to make its jeans look like they have actually been worn for the past 40 years. “We literally put our jeans through the wringer by ripping, mending, sanding, fraying, patching and washing each pair – often by hand – to give them their own distinctive look and vibe," according to Cole.
Lucky does make a few nods to contemporary tastes with its Sienna jean for women, a tomboy-style straight jean, and by introducing organic cotton fabrics into its 221, 227 and 181 styles for men.
From Counterculture to Corporate Culture
That Lucky’s latest styles hearken back to the ‘60s and ‘70s is appropriate for a brand whose founders got their start in fashion in the early ‘70s. Gene Montesano, then 21, and Barry Perlman, then 17, were friends who opened a counterculture jeans shop in 1972 in Florida, bleaching jeans themselves at the local Laundromat to make one-of-a-kind products. Montesano went on to run Bongo clothing company in Los Angeles for 15 years, and then Montesano and Perlman teamed up again in 1990 to create Lucky Brand. The company established its signature free-spirited style by putting a tag in the fly of its jean that read “Lucky You.”
In 1999, the now-troubled Liz Claiborne Inc. bought 85% of Lucky Brand.
Lucky Brand also displays some vintage hippie values like trying to make the world a better place. Its Lucky Brand Foundation, established in 1996, has raised around $6 million for charities that help disabled children, much of it from the annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Gala, which draws guests from Hollywood and the fashion industry. Lucky Brand donations are only given to charities that will put the funds to immediate use for specific projects, such as equipment or medical care, rather than covering administrative costs.
Lucky Brand employees also created the The G.I.V.E. LOVE initiative. Standing for Getting Involved, Volunteering, and Enjoying the feeling of giving back, the program offers employees opportunities for service to their local communities. Lucky Brand employees have participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles Holiday Party and toy drive, an annual food drive for the Fred Jordan Mission as counselors for Camp Harmony, a camping experience for impoverished children.