Levi Vet Wells Joins True Religion

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NEW YORK – True Religion Apparel Inc. has taken another step to avoid flash-in-the-can status by hiring Zihaad Wells as its first design director.

Wells, who reports directly to True Religion founder and chief executive officer Jeffrey Lubell, has been with Levi Strauss & Co. for the last eight years and helped to engineer the company’s successes in Europe with Levi’s Red, Levi’s Vintage and Levi’s Type One.

In a statement, Lubell said Wells “has a unique talent for being at the forefront of emerging trends and for interpreting a distinctive design perspective in the collections that he develops.”

Wells joined Levi’s in Europe in 1998 and was named creative manager, with responsibility for men’s and women’s, in 2004. In addition to his involvement with Red, Vintage and Type One, he was responsible for the redesign of the 501 jean.

Michael Buckley, president of TR, said, “Zihaad is a creative manager with a thorough understanding of the branded denim market and has experience working closely with every aspect of the production process, crucial as we expand our collections to become a premium global lifestyle brand.”

Based in Los Angeles, True Religion was a pioneer in the premium jeans market which has now expanded to other products and into more than 50 countries. In the six months ended June 30, its sales grew 57.5% to $66.3 million. Earlier this month the publicly held firm said it had retained Goldman Sachs & Co. to advise it on possible strategic alternatives for its business.

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