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Jeff Rudes Says Second California Coronavirus Shutdown ‘Could Cripple the Industry’

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With 35 years in the apparel business, J Brand jeans cofounder Jeff Rudes has seen his share of ups and downs. But a second California coronavirus shutdown “could cripple the industry,” the seasoned executive said, trying to stay upbeat as he chatted about the resilience of his contemporary brand, L’Agence, which is venturing into a new category — footwear — for fall.

“We’re in a very good financial position, but it was a huge cost to close our company for 90 days-plus, pay our people and not ship anything,” Rudes said of the first shutdown, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti tease another one now that California has surpassed New York in COVID-19 cases.

But Rudes is forging ahead, for now. And while house dresses and yoga pants may be just about the only fashion trends anyone is talking

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