Denim

Los Angeles: The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel at 9 a.m. on a Friday is probably the best place to watch Hollywood work. The team behind denim brand Frame, which includes co-founder and creative director Erik Torstensson and CEO Nicolas Dreyfus, has positioned themselves at a lacquered wood booth in the middle of everything.

Dreyfus and Torstensson exchange a few hellos and receive nods. Peter Rahal, the founder of RXBar, quickly appears at their table, eager to flaunt the tag on his T-shirt.

He chuckles, “I couldn’t have arranged it better.”

The haphazard appearance of Rahal fits perfectly into Torstensson’s meticulously crafted narrative. When consumers were more interested in Lululemon leggings than jeans in 2013, Frame, his premium denim venture with Jens Grede, not only succeeded but flourished, evolving into a lifestyle brand rooted in denim rather than a denim brand with nothing else to say.

Tortensson has hired a yet-to-be-named European heavyweight to give the collections a real identity in 2023 because he wants fashion to have credibility. A runway show is in the works. Can Dreyfus and Torstensson successfully expand their denim line outside of Los Angeles, where no other denim brand has done so? The one exception might be Diesel, whose designer, Glenn Martens, has received high praise.) According to Torstensson, the “most exciting thing in American fashion” could be the result of a “mix of what Paris does best — when it comes to everything from image to clothes and products — and what California and LA have in terms of technology and modernity.”

Frame clothing is worn by NBA players Tyrese Maxey, Terance Mann, and D’Angelo Russell. BFA) Frame Denim is in a good financial position.

The company’s sales in 2022 were about $170 million, up 50% from before the pandemic. (The company declined to disclose figures for 2021.) Due in part to a tripling of e-commerce sales, profitability on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) basis is up more than 90% from 2019. Direct-to-consumer channels now account for 30% of the company’s revenue, up from 20% prior to the pandemic.)

Dreyfus, who joined the company in March 2020 after co-founding (and selling) the French contemporary brand The Kooples, is confident that Frame can continue expanding its talent pool in Los Angeles by recruiting from other parts of the United States and abroad.

Torstensson attributes Frame’s early success to Grede and his slightly unconventional approach.

Torstensson and Grede set the tone for the brand by introducing the standard skinny jean, which was at the time the most popular style, but positioning it as the choice of their supermodel friends. An early win was a collaboration with Karlie Kloss in 2015 on two flares that were extremely long.)

Even though the jeans are still selling ten years later and account for half of the company’s revenue, Frame has managed to do something unusual for a typical premium jeans manufacturer: encourage customers to purchase items other than jeans, such as silk blouses and satin mini skirts.

According to Pete Nordstrom, president and chief brand officer of his family’s department store chain, “they have built a strong brand around timeless, elevated versatility.” He goes on to say that Frame offers “pieces that are the center” of the customer’s wardrobe and that the line “always feels relevant.”

This is in large part due to the initial framework that Torstensson and Grede established: (Denim)

Frame was never about a particular type of jeans; rather, it was about a way of life. A risk that has paid off was relaunching a men’s collection after an initial failure—the first attempt was too focused on denim, according to Torstensson.

For many, the logical next step would be to sell the business as soon as the market starts to favor sellers more, or as soon as possible if the right deal comes along. Grede is less involved in day-to-day operations now that he and his wife, Emma, manage Skims and Good American. Dreyfus, who in 2019 sold The Kooples to Maus Frères, owner of Lacoste, is the kind of executive who can help Frame get ready for that kind of deal.

However, Torstensson insists that the goal is not a sale. He states, “We absolutely do not want to sell the business.” He is instead concentrating on developing Frame Denim by continuing to act independently of a denim brand.

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