Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman worked together from a very young age, selling specialty jeans in a small Florida shop in the 1970s. Years later, after both of them had gotten more experience in the industry, they came back together in Los Angeles to launch Lucky Brand. Founded in 1990, the new company's mission was to sell vintage-inspired jeans with their own character. The pants were put through the wringer and distressed by hand to make each pair unique and authentic. The brand was innovative from square one, by bucking the trends established by other manufacturers and also charging more than was common for jeans at the time.
In 1999, Montesano and Perlman sold Lucky Brand to Liz Clairborne, though they both stayed on as executives until 2009. The company continued to grow under new ownership and branched out beyond jeans to also manufacture apparel in several other categories. Today, there are more than 150 Lucky Brand stores scattered across the country, and the brand also has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. In addition to the company-owned stores, products are sold at major high-end department stores. In 2013, the private investment firm Leonard Green & Partners purchased Lucky Brand for $225 million.
Jeans are still the top product in the Lucky Brand women's line. They are categorized by fit (ranging from low-rise to high-rise to curvy) and by leg type. Popular cuts include skinny, straight, boyfriend, bootcut, and flare. Lucky Brand essentially came up with the idea distressing jeans 25 years ago, so many of its products are still pre-ripped, but it also makes plenty of jeans that haven't been distressed. Colors and washes also run the gamut. Apart from jeans, Lucky Brand has products in a number of categories. Tops include tanks, blouses, tunics, button-down shirts, henleys, peasant tops, thermals, tees, and more. You'll also find plenty of sweaters and jackets. The brand's activewear collection includes workout shirts, sweatshirts, pants, and leggings. In shoes, options range from boots and booties to flats, wedges, and heels. Jewelry, handbags, and other accessories are also available.
In kids' sizes, Lucky Brand offers clothes for boys and girls. Jeans are among the most popular options for both genders, and they can be found in several different fits and colors. Boys' shirts include graphic tees, button-downs, henleys, and hoodies, while other options for girls include foil tees, tanks, thermals, popovers, sweaters, shirtdresses, sweater dresses, vests, jackets, and more.
Lucky Brand was responsible for major innovations when it first came on to the L.A. fashion scene, and it has helped inspire the designer jean craze. What once seemed expensive, however, is now pretty average when it comes to high-quality pants, and you'll find that most pairs are available for under $100 (and at much more affordable prices when you buy them via consignment). Don't be scared off by Lucky Brand's former reputation for only making distressed jeans. Today's styles are varied enough that you can find something to appeal to practically any shopper. We give Lucky Brand 4.5 stars out of 5.