William Rast, the New America denim culture brand, was conceptualized and founded by business partners Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala in 2005. The name "William Rast" is a combination of Timberlake's grandfather's first name and Ayala's grandfather's last name.
Originally comprised of only denim, the brand has expanded into a complete lifestyle collection. Grounded in the iconography of American denim heritage and biker culture, yet re-packaged and presented in a contemporary context, William Rast has found its place on the floors of top-tier department stores and boutiques across the globe, and has become a staple for denim fans worldwide.
William Rast launched to the fashion community during LA Fashion Week in October 2006 with its first fashion show. In Fall 2008, the brand followed up with the introduction of its contemporary mens and womens ready-to-wear collections. The highly anticipated collections took the label to the next level, solidifying William Rast as a name beyond celebrity. From that point on, the line has been known for delivering quality, detail, design, and comfort.
Fall 2008 also marked the brands first foray into advertising, a film based advertisement campaign titled My name is William Rast featuring Justin Timberlake as freedom fighter William Rast. The campaign focused on a series of short films and a movie trailer communicating the free spirit of the brand and the look and esthetics of the brand DNA. The result of the campaign virally, as well as in traditional print media, positioned William Rast as one of the emerging American fashion brands poised for worldwide expansion.
The Spring 2009 collection was introduced to the world during New York Fashion week in September 2008 at the Roseland ballroom. The popular concert venue was transformed into the set of the campaign movies, including all things Southern, such as a log cabin catwalk and fried pickles. Novices to New York Fashion week this West Coast brand wowed the fashion community with a star studded, high fashion event, including the likes of style icon Anna Wintour and model of the moment Erin Wasson, who starred in the brands Fall advertising campaign.
For Fall 2009 William Rast debuted its first season at the Bryant Park Tent during New York Fashion Week. The brand filled the massive tent with high profile fashion heavyweights and big name celebrities including fashion editrix Anna Wintour for the second season in a row as well as French Vogues Carine Roitfeld.
In the United States, the company distributes its merchandise to better department stores and boutiques, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Lisa Klein, and Fred Segal. Outside the U.S., its products are sold to better department stores and boutiques in Canada, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Cyprus and the Benelux Region of Europe, which includes Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
In early 2011, the company formed a limited-time partnership with Target.
The womens wear collection walks a thin line between accessible tomboy and sensual girly. The Collection utilizes the soul of mens tailoring, and brings more female friendly and body conscious silhouettes. It delivers elements of couture to the world of casual denim. With a focus on leather jackets, printed silk tops and immaculately fitted denims, William Rast offers a woman a very confident and strong identity.
The mens wear collection features modern interpretations of Rat Pack and casual tailoring in the shape of semi constructed and deconstructed single blazers with a sharp sophisticated attitude, modern leather jackets and a strong focus on woven shirts, from flannel plaids to utilitarian cottons. Colors, prints and graphics inspired by American artists and icons, create a strong visual identity and a playful yet sophisticated expression while utilitarian symbols and badges enrich garments to give them attitude and confidence.