A former defense industry engineer designing men’s clothing?
David Foulad is just that and he’s found success in his life after the Cold War.
Foulad is the founder of Ragwear USA, a company that makes young men’s club wear. Showing his practical side from his days as an engineer, Foulad says that sales, about $1.8 million in 1996, are projected to be $2 million to $3 million this year.
“He’s daring,” says Hank Pola, the West Coast representative for Dyersberg Corp., a textile knit supplier. “He started out in denim and has come up with some very unique looks. It’s a young business and we’re betting on him.”
Foulad grew up in Iran, then left the country when he was 18 to go to college in the United States. After graduation from State University of New York in Buffalo, Foulad got into the defense industry.
He worked on projects ranging from the F-18 fighter jet to the B-1 bomber and eventually landed in L.A. after he was hired by Rockwell to work on the space shuttle’s main engine.
When that project ended, defense work became hard to come by, and Foulad, not wanting to move, looked for something else.
Using his mechanical engineering background, Foulad tried his hand in the construction industry. He developed buildings for garment manufacturers, and it was not long before he became intrigued by another business fashion design.
“I showed interest in the business, and the clothing manufacturers I was working with encouraged me,” said Foulad, who then turned his sights to learning all he could about the fashion industry.
After two years of research, Foulad chose young men’s fashion starting with a pair of overalls that could be converted into pants.
“You have to be very creative to sell to trendy buyers somebody who wants to be up-to-date in colors and fabrics and fits,” says Foulad. “Menswear has changed from basic Levi’s and T-shirts to being as trendy as women’s lines.”
Foulad does not personally design anymore, opting instead to focus on the manufacturing end of his business. But he has several designers on staff.
Foulad eventually plans to manufacture women’s and children’s lines. In the meantime, he says, he will continue “working very hard and thinking very hard.”
Lisa Steen Proctor