Today I met one of the most inspiring people in the denim industry, Jerome Dahan.
Jerome founded Citizens of Humanity in 2003, and the brand has captivated the fashion world with a rigorous commitment to cutting-edge denim styling, comfort and fit without compromise. With over 25 years of experience in the denim industry, Jerome Dahan, is a true visionary and the first to bring the concept of luxury designer denim to the global marketplace.
Remaining true to his roots, the brand reflects a relaxed confidence and contemporary style, inspired by the people and places that most influenced Dahan—from pop culture icons such as Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg during his youth in Paris to street art and California beach culture in his more recent years—giving the brand a spirit that is unique only to Citizens of Humanity. Have a look at this video http://vimeo.com/49921426
Parisian born Jerome Dahan ventured out to Los Angeles in 1981 where he discovered his talent for design. It was not long before Jerome took a job that would forever change his life. He began his career in denim and found his passion while working with one of the pioneer brands that changed the denim market in the United States– Guess Jeans.
Through the years Jerome searched for what he felt was missing, that something he would soon be recognized for creating. Something in addition to the fits, fabrics and washes that were becoming prevalent in the market. It was Jerome’s goal to recreate the market and develop the story for the next generation of jean wearers. He was aiming high to create a modern Levi’s.
In 1999, Jerome conceived the idea that became Seven For All Mankind–a brand that would change the industry like only a few brands ever have. At Seven, Jerome introduced a new fit that he describes as ” a sexy universal jean”. He also introduced a new generation of denim fabrics–multi-counts from Candiani and a comfort stretch from Kaihara that allow the jeans to feel and look authentic. He combined these innovative fabrics with the “icing on the cake”– a collection of new washes and new finishing techniques which included Jerome’s signature vintage center crease line that made both a flair and boot leg look slim and sophisticated.
In 2002, Jerome would learn the most important lesson of his life, teamwork. As he tells it, “no matter how great an idea may be, without the right team and support around you, you will not achieve your goal.” Unfortunate for Jerome, he did not have the right team at 7 For All Mankind.
Regardless, sometimes adversity can be turned to an advantage, and that’s exactly what Jerome did. Jerome took the opportunity to create a new brand –Citizens of Humanity– the brand that has brought him the success that he enjoys today.
In 2007, Jerome made an important decision when he convinced Adriano Goldschmeid, a long time mentor and one of the few others in the industry to match Jerome’s passion and creativity, to join forces and bring Goldsign and Citizens of Humanity together.
Jerome believes that creating a stimulating and fun atmosphere is essential to keep his creative juices flowing. He attributes his success in large part to the fact that he loves what he does. “If you’re not pure of heart and have a motive other than being passionate and extremely creative, my advice is you better start running, and you better run fast, very fast, because any good fortune you may receive will not last for long.” Jerome explains, “I have been having fun designing the product with some great people, and I am fortunate for the financial rewards that have come my way. My success is owed in no small part to people like my friend, Gary Freedman, who believed enough in me to provide the support that has been the hallmark of Citizens of Humanity for almost nine years.
Jerome also knows that you can never rest on your success. “I need to design more than a product. I can set a vision, but the true DNA of the company is made by those who participate day in and day out to make our product the best it can be. That means creating a team of people who work closely together, one no more important than the other. This is what I choose to do and how I want to get there. I want to work with people who share my vision and energy, people I can feel close to and who stimulate my passion. It’s not a lot of people, but it is those who remember that we are all Citizens of Humanity.