EXCLUSIVE: Chaz A. Jordan Steps Down From 1989 Studio

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Chaz A. Jordan is ready for his new chapter.

After founding 1989 Studio in 2022, the Los Angeles-based designer has now left the company citing “creative differences” for his taking a step back. The spring 2025 season was the last collection Jordan worked on.

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The 34-year-old is a University of Illinois alum who got his start working at RSVP Gallery alongside Don C and the late Virgil Abloh. Previously, Jordan was the founder of Ih Nom Un Nit, Au Courant and Laundered Works Corp.

Jordan has given up all ownership rights and future involvement in 1989 Studio to Italian retail company, Folli Follie Group, who bought the brand recently. Wednesday was his last day at 1989 Studio. Jordan declined to comment on any financial agreements for the end of his tenure. There’s no news on who is to follow Jordan nor any future company plans.

Despite not being at his previous companies anymore, Jordan has no regrets. “Those choices have gotten me where I am today. Both in terms of market value as to what I can command by going to these brands, the experiences and relationships. The experience alone is worth its weight in gold.”

Contributing to the culture as a whole is a key part of Jordan’s ethos — which can be seen when taking a glance at his overall collections, collaborations and contributors, who are all at the forefront of culture. Similar to how Abloh operated, Jordan’s overall role is “not only to create clothing but to also bridge that gap and incorporate different industries into our space so that it’s more inclusive.”

When asked about lessons he’s learned along the way with his crew of some of the biggest names in fashion, Jordan said, “Virgil was the epitome of the blueprint.” He also cites Balenciaga’s Demna and Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo as two other prime examples whose career trajectories he studies from. But as someone with a self-described “less forward-facing” presence in the industry, Jordan has been applying the lessons he’s learned along the way that works for him.

Jordan said he was “3 for 3” with his collections at 1989 Studio; his debut show in Paris was a surefire hit. The follow-up collection created with PlayLab — a Los Angeles-based creative studio — is a checkmark in his eyes, especially given their notable work with Abloh at Off-White and Louis Vuitton. And for Jordan’s most recent fall 2024 collection at 1989 Studio, he opened a showroom in Milan with rapper Quavo and Lorenzo among his esteemed attendees.

1989 Studio RTW Fall 2024
1989 Studio fall 2024

Speaking to the larger picture the industry has seen with creative directors leaving and moving around from brand to brand, Jordan said, “you spend time with one brand and one project — you put all that you have into it, and you want it to succeed. Usually what happens is that we feel that we’re not able to contribute beyond a certain point.”

He continued to explain that as creatives, it’s important for them to nurture their talent and creativity to help continue giving them the spark and drive. Furthermore, Jordan said that he’s a big proponent of working where he contributes meaningfully and where his contributions are felt and seen rather than being just a “clog in the wheel.” Often, he’s seen fellow creatives get burnt out or fall out of love with their jobs across all industries.

“I did what I was supposed to do,” Jordan said. “I did what I had to do for that brand to go on and succeed. I don’t think I could’ve done anything more. I did exactly what I needed to do to help the brand set up for success.”

As for his next steps? Jordan shared with WWD that his next move is as creative director for an established large contemporary brand in the denim category. While he declined to name exactly where he will be moving to just yet, Jordan said that he will be working with his future employer to bring a higher end, refined approach and inject his notable style philosophy into the role.

Moving into the contemporary space, Jordan will be tapping into a new market of consumers than the ones he’s previously been designing for in mind — consumers who are “not necessarily as fashion-forward or culturally aware, but still adjacent.”

Notably, the difference Jordan sees is that he won’t be the one setting the trends for the contemporary market, but moreso infusing his style into a brand that sells hundreds of millions of dollars of certain styles or silhouettes the brand has homed in on. Reflecting on his time at his previous independent ventures, he enjoys not being in a cycle of constantly setting trends and pushing. However, don’t count Jordan out completely on creating another brand of his own — he has a “never say never” mindset.

Like Heron Preston at Calvin Klein, Jordan is now being tapped to join an established brand to help inject some of his forward-thinking work and bring it into the contemporary market. Given that most of the category’s market consumers have aged out, Jordan said he’s helping to define what the new contemporary looks like. “It’s exciting because it’s literally a blank slate.”

Representatives for Folli Follie Group declined to comment on this story.

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