Going Hollywood at Joseph Abboud

How a Madrid-born, London-trained fashion designer is bringing new life to classic American menswear.



(Left to right) Landry Fields of the New York Knicks, actors Matt Czuchry, Chris Lowell, and Kellan Lutz attend the Joseph Abboud Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Hudson River Park's Pier 57 on February 9, 2012 in New York City.

“Ralph Lauren does it in a very British way, and I do it in an American way,” he says of the line that conveys a refined get-down-to-work attitude, “which is maintaining comfort and functionality.”

Since becoming creative director two years ago, Rojo has been redefining a label that, once known for classic design and luxurious fabrics, was in danger of being relegated to memory. There’s a tightrope walk required of the person designing for a brand well known to longtime and devoted customers, while simultaneously trying to reach new audiences, but according to observers, Rojo has been managing it deftly. He has refreshed the silhouettes of suit jackets and pants, and the brand, which now includes scarves, bags, and shoes, has a new cohesion. This year he brought Joseph Abboud back to the runway for the first time in seven years.

“He’s bringing more of a design edge,” says John Jones, fashion director of menswear trade publication MR Magazine. “There are a lot of stores and a lot of guys who liked Joseph Abboud all along and will continue to, but Rojo is opening it up a bit more and is certainly offering something for that guy who is looking for something special.”

Rojo’s own interest in fashion and design started in his childhood in Madrid, at age 6 or 7.