Ara Bedrosian and Ross Gershkowitz Launch Alpha Design Group

by Harry Sheff

Ara Bedrosian, CEO of JB Britches, and former JA Apparel SVP Ross Gershkowitz have launched a new holding company called Alpha Design Group. The company will control the better men’s trouser brand JB Britches, the trouser and sportcoat brand Di Milano, the new Duckie Brown Gentlemen brand and a large private label business.

Bedrosian, whose father, mother and aunt founded JB Britches in 1979, will be the chief executive of Alpha Design Group and Gershkowitz will be president. The partners will each focus on a different part of the business: Bedrosian on the private label side, which is currently about 65 percent of it, and Gershkowitz on the brands and business development.

Alpha Design Group opened an office and showroom in New York at 37 West 20th Street last week.

“We’re an L.A.-based company, and over the last few years I’ve realized we’ve lacked the presence and ability to grow the business without a sales office in New York,” said Bedrosian. “This year we decided to make the investment with an office and showroom, and to build up a larger sales force and bring on a partner like Ross, who has a tremendous amount of experience in this industry.”

“Ara and I were friendly competitors when I was at Abboud for several years and when Abboud was sold, we became friendlier,” explained Gershkowitz. “In the last six months, he and his family decided it was time to expand with the goal taking the company from its current $45 million to a $145 million business. It’s been a seven-figure investment to pull this off: opening a New York office, expanding infrastructure, adding people in sales, planning and service.”

JB Britches, the cornerstone of the Bedrosian family’s business, was joined by the promotional trouser brand they created called di Milano about six years ago. Di Milano
has grown in breadth and stature to include better product and more categories, including sport coats and blazers.

Duckie Brown Gentlemen was the first project that Gershkowitz and Bedrosian worked on together. “We started talking to Daniel Silver and Steven Cox late last year about putting together a collection with the Duckie Brown influence but with mainstream appeal, both in price points and design, and it evolved into a joint venture. We are designing a full lifestyle collection from tailored clothing to furnishings, accessories and sportswear.”

The first Duckie Brown Gentlemen collection will debut at Nordstrom this fall with trousers, suits and sport coats.

Alpha Design Group will also be expanding the Mr. Brown by Duckie Brown collection, which has been carried by Gilt Man and Rothmans.

Gershkowitz said that he will be aggressively pursuing new business. “We are looking to acquire new brands, either by license or ownership. We have ownership stakes in factories in Italy and Mexico and we’re looking at something in the U.S. as an investment as well.”