The former founder and creative director of True Religion, Jeffrey Lubell is back. Seven years after his brand True Religion was closed, the designer and entrepreneur and his wife, muse and co-designer Carrie Lubell, are ready for a new start. A fresh vision has inspired them in launching their new luxury sportswear and denim brand called Coût De La Liberté hitting stores from f/w 2021. Here, Jeffrey Lubell explains the reasons and aims of this new project.
After leaving True Religion in 2013, I quit fashion and started really enjoying life. I am having a great time. I have an amazing wife, a family and a beautiful house. Recently I started this company, Coût De La Liberté [meaning the Cost Of Freedom] with a bigger meaning in mind–it’s all about freedom and everyone’s right to express their tastes and beliefs.
Everything for me starts with fabrics then the fit. I chose the best quality materials like silks, cashmeres, wools, velvets, furs, leathers and others–from Paris to Milan to Tokyo. For denim I chose eight different fabrics from Candiani only, and first ordered a hundred yards of each material. When I saw that my collection was starting to be appreciated I decided to increase my production and ordered 70,000 meters of denim. At Candiani they were surprised. So I told them: “Listen, when I started True Religion it was the same thing. I believed in what I was doing and started the same way. The only way to begin something new in the jeans business is to plant a seed which can grow into a tree that can become a forest.” You must believe in what you are doing!
The collection is entirely made in the USA. It’s designed here in our hometown Los Angeles-based atelier, and every garment is made here as well. Our production is 98% local and ethical, and we are able to be there watching over every step, ensuring delivery of only the highest quality pieces. This mean my jeans cost between US$500 to US$900 at retail.
Can you describe your collection? How does it differ from True Religion?
When I started TR, I wanted to do a luxury brand but I only started it as a focused jeans brand. With CDLL I am offering everything luxury–leather, suede, outerwear, down jackets, and sportswear. CDLL starts from the same pillars of TR, but focuses much more on quality and craftsmanship in sewing details. Our jeans, for instance, are hand cut, assembled and sewn–everything made according to a true luxury standard of fit and quality.
I’m trying to build a luxury brand that is competitive among premium luxury brands. I’m not looking to compete with Diesel, Levi’s, or any other player in the denim market; my aim is to focus on something that’s more luxury-driven. In CDLL denim counts for more than 30% of the collection, while in TR it was 95%. The current collection includes 35 to 40 pieces for men and about 100 for women.
I’m a rock ’n’ roll guy. I grew up with the Grateful Dead and Altman Brothers Band. I love classic rock; I am still living in the times when we listened to Hot Tuna, Rolling Stones, Dire Straits. My mind still lives in that world of freedom when you could wear flares, bell bottoms and tank tops, low rise, fur, jackets, big hats. It was so cool. So I’m taking that these designs from the personal place they hold for me, and translating them to a current aesthetic. Every single piece I make is one-of-a-kind. It’s almost unbelievable. No two pieces look alike in my collection. People who put on this collection will look different even if they’re wearing the same piece.
I design for the consumer who wants to feel like a rockstar, feel like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, or Janis Joplin. These are the images that inspire me. We’re talking ’60s and ’70s here, but of course my collection doesn’t look like it’s from those years because it’s made with fits and fabrics of today, and a vision for how the future should look. The luxury consumer has a larger appetite for aspirational clothing today. Unfortunately most of the big brands–Gucci is the only that pushes in a different direction–almost all look the same.
The first collection debuted for f/w 2020-21 which is now going to be shipped to the stores in the next couple of weeks. We had started showing it last February within presentations happening during Fashion Week in New York and Paris. Then we had to stop as Corona started to spread and traveling was forbidden. We reopened by the end of August and got a few orders including Jades in Düsseldorf, one of the best stores in Germany. Our aim is to reach about 50 to 90 stores worldwide.
What do you mean with the “cost of liberty”?
The real cost of freedom is to push forward and be in a good and positive mindset as there’s too much negativity in the world. You cannot sit back—you have to be passionate. You cannot listen to those who ask for casual knitwear for staying at home. People want to wear clothes that help them express themselves. They want colorful items, and need pieces that show an aspiration to be positive.
I don’t want to get into politics–even if it’s on all of our minds–but I believe in the future, I believe in hope. I’m making this collection here in America for a reason. I think our future is as bright the most colorful pieces in the Cout De La Liberté collection.