NO SUCH THING AS BAD...: Sydney jeans brand Ksubi, previously Tsubi, built its profile Down Under with a series of provocative stunts, but it has Nicole Richie to thank for its latest publicity coup. And this was something far more politically incorrect than past antics of Ksubi duo George Gorrow and Dan Single, like sending 169 rats down the runway and making their models dive into Sydney Harbour. Richie's invitation to her Memorial Day barbecue, which was leaked to the press, made headlines worldwide because it said only women weighing less than 100 pounds were welcome. The invitation later was dismissed by the Richie camp as a "joke," but the hubbub prompted Richie's mates to turn up in their "sluttiest tops and tightest pair of Tsubi jeans."
The incident comes at the end of a bit of an annus horribilis for Ksubi, which experienced a cash crunch and was forced to change its name after a trademark dispute with California footwear manufacturer Tsubo. After reportedly lending Ksubi 550,000 Australian dollars ($456,115 at current exchange) late last year, Australian businessman Harry Hodge has just acquired a minority stake in the company. Hodge, chairman and chief executive officer of Quiksilver Europe from 1984 to 2003, knows surfwear, and Gorrow and Single are both surfers, although that's not their market. (However, Gorrow is the creative director of a separate, rapidly expanding Australian surfwear brand called Insight.) Giving them a leg up in the showbiz connections department is Ksubi's U.S. ceo, Greg Chait, who also operates L.A. celebrity hot spots The Dime and Winston's — and recently dated Ashley Olsen, who has, like Richie, been photographed in Ksubi's jeans.