Justin Timberlake isn’t a designer, but he’s joining the roster of such luminaries as Diane Von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, and Donna Karan who are staging runway shows in the tents next week. He founded his label, William Rast, with childhood friend Trace Alaya about three years ago. Alaya had the idea to launch the line, and when he did, Timberlake told him he wouldn’t have much time to work on it. But that’s not the case anymore: Timberlake brought on Johan and Marcella Lindeberg, who design the J. Lindeberg label, three seasons ago. A few months ago he lent his hotness and uh, acting skills, to the William Rast promotional short film. And this season — though he’s never professed to be a designer — he had something to do with the fall 2009 aesthetic. He told WWD his inspiration for the new collection came from “a new America.”
With President Obama in the White House, Timberlake said he has been inspired to showcase a line that’s full of what American fashion should be about — leather motorcycle jackets, oversize flannel plaid shirts, black skinny and acid-wash denim jeans.
Oh goody. Acid-wash. But! Whatever Timberlake actually does for William Rast, it’s working. The label is doing fabulously in the economic downturn. It sells in major department stores like Bloomingdale’s, 500 specialty stores like Saks, and 180 stores in Europe. Nordstrom said the spring collection is already selling briskly. Expansion plans include launching a shoe line and opening freestanding William Rast stores.
With the bearish market gruesomely devouring celebrity lines, this is impressive news. Then again, everyone says there’s lots of opportunity in this kind of climate. We didn’t think it would be for acid-wash and oversized flannel, but hey, if a label’s expanding and hiring people, we’ll deal.