It’s been a while since we’ve really heard anything about William Rast, the men’s and women’s clothing label Justin Timberlake founded with his friend Trace Ayala back in 2005.
The line was one of few celebrity clothing endeavors to be immediately embraced by the fashion industry–everyone from Anna Wintour to JC Chasez attended the runway shows and remember that Target collaboration?
After that, it seemed like someone lost interest, whether it was us, the fashion industry, or Timberlake himself (when was the last time he stepped out in something other than Tom Ford–let alone William Rast?), but apparently it continued existing–especially in Canada.
According to WWD, the brand is slated to expand into all 90 Hudson’s Bay department stores (it was already carried in some of the stores) as well as the company’s e-commerce. The brand will even be featured in shop-in-shops and in many of the stores’ windows. And, somewhat surprisingly, Timberlake and Ayala aren’t just sitting in their mansions, collecting profits from afar. Both of them made appearances at the Toronto store on Tuesday, where tickets were given away to Timberlake’s performance with Jay-Z there tonight.
Yehuda Shmidman, CEO of brand management firm Sequential Brands Group (which owns most of William Rast) told the trade that Timberlake and Ayala are still very involved with the brand: “They look at everything. Trace is super on the day-to-day stuff for us. Justin has input on the aesthetic… It’s a true partnership,” she said. Both designers still have a stake in the label.
In terms of expansion, William Rast isn’t stopping at Hudson’s Bay. The brand also has a small menswear presence at JCPenney–in fact, a collab with the brand was part of Ron Johnson’s collab-heavy JCPenney restructuring plan last year. And, there are plans to enter department stores globally, with sights set on Europe next. William Rast also plans to expand into new categories, including footwear.
We kind of doubt we’ll be sitting across from Anna Wintour and Jessica Biel at a William Rast show or hearing the label name-dropped in a JT song anytime soon, but William Rast has fared better than a lot of other celebrity clothing lines and we guess there’s something to be said for that.