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Tiffany Montgomery
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Frank Delgadillo starts new brand Comune

By Tiffany Montgomery
September 22, 2008 5:19 AM

Frank Delgadillo has left Ambiguous and is launching a new brand, Comune.


I stopped by the brand's new headquarters in a ranch house on Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa Thursday to find out more.


Previously, Frank worked on Comune as a creative side project where he did a limited run of denim and T-shirts. Most of the product was sold in Japan and a little at The Closet, he said.


He describes the next iteration of Comune as a little darker than Ambiguous. "We'll make basics, but with a twist," he said.


Frank also said the brand will be priced reasonably and compete with other industry brands.


"To give fashion at a price is the key going forward," he said.

 

Comune will launch in fall 2009 with a full collection of denim, T-shirts, knits, wovens, sweaters and jackets.


In spring 2010, Comune plans to launch a line for juniors.

 

Comune logoFrank partnered up with a friend with strong ties to the manufacturing world and says the company is well-financed. He declined to provide specifics about his partner.


Comune will have its own agent in Shanghai to manage manufacturing. Frank's team from Orange County will spend nearly six weeks there beginning in late October.


He hopes to keep distribution similar to that of Ambiguous - better boardsport stores and boutiques. He plans to hire a national sales manager to be more aggressive on sales and also a brand operations manager.


"I have a strong supporting team that will allow me to concentrate on the brand vision, and I will still be very hands on," he said.


Frank brought most of the Ambiguous team with him, including team riders, design staff, marketing staff and most of the sales group. 

 


Comune group photoThe Comune team, L to R: Jacob McCabe, Mike Quinones, Howie Marchbanks, Chris Thomas, Corey Smith, Frank Delgadillo, Jack Mahaffa.

"The group I have is very, very good, very creative," he said. "Most are not from our industry. They are fresh faces with fresh ideas."

Frank, 36, founded Ambiguous in his dorm room at Chapman University when he was 20. Most recently, he served as president of the brand and was partnered with Glorious Sun. Frank declined to provide more specifics about his departure from Ambiguous, but said one of the best things he learned from the relationship was how to stick to deadlines and budgets, he said.


"I'm excited," Frank said. "I feel like a kid again, like I did when I started Ambiguous, but with more knowledge and capital."


Currently, most of the staff is working off site as the offices gets set up. When I was there, some of the team was assembling office chairs and a shipment of desks was on the way.


Frank wanted a house for company headquarters because it fits with the Comune aesthetic. Plus, Costa Mesa is a more diverse, vibey city than an Irvine office park, he said. Three revamped shipping containers will be added to the large parking lot to be used for work and gallery space.


While Frank has deep experience and a reputation for forward design, he knows Comune will have to prove itself before retailers jump in.


"We have no unrealistic goals as far as sales," he said.


He is just happy to be starting fresh on his own terms.


"I had boundaries before - now I have no boundaries," he said.

 


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