Fred Segal Organization:

Fred Segal stores

Born:

1933 in Chicago, family moved to Los Angeles in 1934

Education:

UCLA

Career Turning Point:

Awareness of good health

Most Admired Person:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter

Hobbies:

Swimming, hiking, yoga, walking, Bonsai trees, study of good health, work with Noetic sciences.

Personal:

Married, five children, 4 grandchildren

Father of the hip blue jean has watched trends come and go, but the Fred Segal philosophy has survived

Fred Segal hit it big in the 60s when he developed the first fashion jean, a below-the-waist hip-hugging pant that sold for the unheard of price of $20. Nearly 40 years later, the fashion jean that looks much like Segal's first jeans is being called upon to boost retailers' sagging sales this year. Back is the low-rise pant and the flared pant legs.

Segal's jeans sold in a small Santa Monica Boulevard boutique he eventually moved to the corner of Melrose Avenue and Crescent Heights Boulevard.

He started his second store in 1984 when he transformed an old ice skating rink in Santa Monica into a fashion palace. The Santa Monica store encompasses 40 independently owned boutiques under one roof.

Over the years, the 68-year-old retailer has branched out into other areas, promoting peace and spirituality. He established the 240-acre Peace Park in Malibu. It has hiking trails, meditation areas and classes for yoga and meditation. Segal is a personal friend of the Dalai Lama and on the board of The Institute of Noetic Sciences, started by astronaut Ed Mitchell.

When not residing in his house in Peace Park, he stays at his homes in Montecito and Cabo San Lucas.

Question:

How did you get started?

Answer: I started as a salesman for a sportswear company called H.I.S. Sportswear. That was 45 years ago. I was the western regional sales manager. What I discovered is that without knowing it, I was designing a lot of the items and they were selling. Then I had this idea of doing fashion jeans. I brought it to the president of the company. He didn't like the idea and I quit. I opened a store and started developing jeans in my store, which was on Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights for 10 years. I moved in there over 40 years ago.

Q: What did those fashion jeans look like?

A: They were more expensive (than regular jeans). At that time there were no fashion jeans. I actually created the fashion jeans market. They were a lower rise jean that cost $20. Prior to that the highest priced jeans were $2.50 from Levi's, Lee and Wrangler.

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