History of Denim Brands: Rich & Skinny

What are two things every girl wishes for? 1. To be Rich and 2. To be Skinny. Well thanks to Michael Glasser and Joie Rucker, this dream has come true.

Launched in select high-end boutiques and department stores in late November of 2006, Rich & Skinny is an exciting jean collection created to fill a void in the denim market. Rich & Skinny is a partnership between Michael Glasser, founder of denim heavyweights Seven for All Mankind and Citizen of Humanity and Designer Joie Rucker, former owner of the wildly successful brand Joie. Glasser’s hands on experience, coupled with his comprehensive business and retail experience along with Rucker’s design sensibility has helped secure the team’s success.

After studying the market and trends, Glasser found the denim market to be stagnant and later came across a unique new European denim that blended cotton with Lycra Spandex and hence, the idea to create a new denim line was formed. Besides its incredibly soft fabrics, Rich & Skinny is also known for their wide variety of up to the minute denim styles. Their basics line offers styles like the slim sleek, super skinny, traditional boot- cut Rich, and a zipper leg jean the “vivid”. Stepping away from the traditional 5-pocket jean, they’ve created such iconic jeans as “the Boyfriend” jean, and the denim legging “Legacy” even the “Skinny Boyfriend” which take you from day to night while retaining the playfulness of the Rich & Skinny Brand. What further sets Rich & Skinny apart from other denim brands is their great color palate, consistently offering customers the choice to wear reds, purples, pinks along with more subtle colors such as Black, White, Dark Silver and a fantastic array of denim washes. The attention to detail displayed in their handcrafted signature R buttons, sumptuous silk pocket and waistband lining and a rich purple velvet label; all add to the beauty and richness of this incredible line.

With the success of Rich & Skinny, owners Michael & Joie decided to challenge themselves and create a sumpously contained line of denim for men, called “Rich” by Rich & Skinny. The men’s line is comprised of 3 basic styles, strong (slim), Bold (Boot), and chill (relaxed) and four washes. With the dynamic teaming of Michael Glasser and Joie Rucker it was inevitable that Rich & Skinny would become one of the hottest denim brands.. Rich and Skinny can be found in select retailers such as Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom and Intermix and on the bodies of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities. “Rich” is for all the details, “Skinny” is how the jeans make you look and feel. Rich & Skinny is how it makes you feel.

For more than 17 years, Joie Rucker (Co-Owner) has been a leader in the fashion industry. Her contributions over the years have played an integral role in the denim market and have helped secure her place in the industry. After completing a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, Rucker began her career working for the popular brand SAM & LIBBY. Recognized for her talent and creativity, Rucker was recruited by Levi Strauss & Company to head up design for the Silver Tab jean division. There, she oversaw Girls, juniors and the Women’s collections and was known for her innovative silhouettes and washes. Rucker’s designs contributed to the company’s sales, which tripled within a 2-year period.

Rucker left Levi Strauss after seven successful years to serve as Vice President of Design and Product Development for Guess Inc. There she was responsible for twelve product deliveries per year from concept to production. Rucker was also accountable for the re-launch of the Boys division as well as conceptualized and launched Brand G; a new category for Guess Inc. While there, Junior sales grew from $200 million to $600 million annually and Men’s grew from $100 million to $250 million as a direct result of Rucker’s comprehensive experience of the business coupled with her unique design ability.

In 2001, Rucker with partner Sean Barron formed Joie, a casual chic clothing line for women and men. Rucker was the Creative Director and co-owner of Joie. Her responsibilities included overseeing all design aspects from conceptualization to production of product. Joie’s distinct designs and incredible fit garnered quick success. In the spring of 06, Joie partnered with Michael Glasser to form Rich & Skinny Jeans. Rucker is the principal designer and Co-owner. In less than three short years Joie Rucker has been a driving force in bringing higher fashion to the denim world. Rich & Skinny is known for their great fit, wide variety of color, and trendsetting styles, this is due the Joie’s instinctive sensibilities. Rucker’s experience has truly led her to be recognized as an innovator in this competitive industry. Rucker’s designs can be seen on celebrities and trendsetters everywhere.

Michael Glasser (Co-owner & Founder) was born in Bronx, New York with fashion sense imbedded in his DNA. As a teenager, Michael worked as a stock boy in a clothing store, and when asked to bring stock to a customer, he would not just bring what was requested, but also what he thought would look good. Often times, the customer took his recommendation. He was soon giving the store buyer merchandise suggestions, which usually turned out to be best selling items.

After high school, with confidence, a desire for success, and an innate sense for picking a winning design, Michael was offered a job with Mr. Pants, a manufacturer in NYC. Soon Mr. Pants went from mediocre to star of 7th Avenue because of Michael’s fabric choices. He became known as the “man with the magic eye”. Every fabric that he chose and made into pants became one of their top selling items.

After his success on 7th Avenue, Michael partnered with a California manufacturer and started Simply Pants, a women’s pants line. He moved to Los Angeles where he currently resides, to run the company. In a few years, Simply Pants went from $15 million – $120 million business due to both Michael’s vision and instinct for picking current trends as well as his talent for predicting future ones. Michael was an apparel star on both coasts and business was great. However, due to unexpected challenges in the business, Simply Pants went bankrupt after nearly 4 years.

For twenty years, throughout the mid 70’s through 90’s, Michael started and or ran a number of successful jeans and apparel companies. These companies included French Dressing, the original premium denim line, Bronx Casual Clothing, a very successful novelty denim line, and Democracy, the first line to use Tencel in the fabrication of the denim.

In 2000, Michael made one of his most important marks on the jean industry. He partnered with Jerome Dahan (former head designer at Lucky Brand Jeans) and Peter Koral (from L’Koral, a financial backer) to launch Seven for All Mankind Jeans, the first mega successful premium denim line. Using his experience, vision and insight into the jean industry, Michael identified a tremendous void in the denim marketplace. There was not a jean product available whose price fell between an $80 pair of Lucky Brand Jeans and $250 pair of Japanese imports. He and Jerome designed a product with a superior and sexy fit similar to a European jean yet with more details. SFAM Jeans became an overnight success that opened the floodgates for the launch of a myriad of other premium denim lines. In 2002, Michael and Jerome exited SFAM after a dispute regarding profit sharing. The dispute went to trial and the jury ruled in their favor and awarded them a financial settlement.

The denim industry was still in their blood, and in 2003 Michael partnered with Jerome Dahan again and launched the next mega successful premium denim line, Citizens of Humanity. Citizens is known for creating denim designs that are comfortable to wear and extremely flattering in both style and fit. Michael and Jerome’s success also allowed them to give back as they donated a portion of all sales to Conservation International, truly representing the “Citizens of Humanity”.

In early 2005 Michael decided to retire from the industry. He felt that there were not enough challenges remaining for him. But, retirement did not last long when Michael met designer Joie Rucker, and soon together they both found inspiration from the sluggish state of the denim industry and a Japanese import they found at a jeans bar in a mall in southern California.

By 2006, retailers were extremely overstocked in basic five pockets jeans that were no longer selling as fast. The industry had not changed much since he launched SFAM in 2000. Michael with Joie felt that denim needed to go in a different direction. With the inspiration of the superfine denim fabric found in the Japanese import combined with what he thought was the next phase in denim, Rich & Skinny Jeans was formed in July 2006. The first product was shipped in September 2006. Rich & Skinny Jeans (the way they make you feel) is beyond the 5-pocket jean, with a focus on color, unique washes, a wide variety of fashion forward styles, and of course an awesome fit with just the right amount of attitude. Rich & Skinny has proven again that Michael Glasser is truly an Icon in the denim world.