NEW YORK and LEXINGTON, Mass., Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Iconic American brand, Keds, announced today an exclusive licensing agreement with LF USA, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-headquartered multinational Li & Fung Limited, to develop a line of Keds branded apparel for women and men to be sold in retail stores across the U.S. and its territories beginning next year.
In 1916, Keds created an American Classic Original: a shoe with a soft rubber sole so comfortable and quiet you could "sneak" up on your boyfriend or girlfriend. This original sneaker, called "the Champion," has remained a style icon for almost 100 years. Relevant now as it has been for generations prior, Keds has a contemporary new position -- timeless American style and the art of what's possible. Today, a new generation is discovering and enjoying the Keds brand, which is inspiring a collective spirit of new American style, youthful optimism, collaboration, contribution and togetherness.
"Keds has been a part of this country's wardrobe for nearly 100 years, representing so much more than a sneaker. Keds represents an American style philosophy of simplicity, accessibility and fashion that lends itself really well to being a full lifestyle brand -- including apparel," said Kristin Kohler Burrows, Keds brand president. "We are very excited to partner with the Regatta team at LF USA, a group with an amazing reputation and extensive expertise in designing, sourcing and creating apparel lines for today's consumer. We are thrilled to work with this team to bring the art of what's possible with Keds to the world of sportswear."
As part of the agreement, LF USA will work with the Keds brand team to create the men's and women's apparel collections and will be responsible for the marketing and sales to retailers across the U.S., initially targeting boutiques and better department stores. The new collections are expected to focus on casual wear designs with an initial limited-edition collection expected for Spring 2012 and more complete lines to follow later in the year.
"An iconic American brand, we are thrilled to partner with Keds to extend its fashion influence beyond footwear," said Rick Darling, President of LF USA. "Synonymous with casual, everyday style, we see tremendous opportunities to build on the strong heritage and spirit of the Keds brand to bring consumers a new, differentiated apparel collection."
The news of the Keds brand broadening into the apparel category is another milestone in the Collective Brands' new business model, rooted in a powerful brand portfolio with an expanding range of branded products sold through multiple channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing.
In 1916, Keds created an American Classic Original: a shoe with a soft rubber sole so comfortable and quiet you could "sneak" up on your boyfriend or girlfriend -- and the "sneaker" was born. This original sneaker, called "the Champion," has remained a style icon for almost 100 years. From movie stars, artists and tennis pros, to first ladies and beatniks, just about everyone has walked, skipped or jumped in a pair of Keds.
Relevant now as it has been for generations prior, Keds has a contemporary new position -- timeless American style and the art of what's possible. Today, a new generation is discovering the Keds brand, which is helping to inspire a collective spirit of new American style, youthful optimism, collaboration, contribution, and togetherness. America was founded on the premise of possibility and Keds is the canvas to help people discover and create their own.
About Collective Brands
Keds® is a division of Collective Brands Performance and Lifestyle Group (PLG), Lexington, Mass., which focuses on lifestyle and athletic branded footwear for men and women, and high-quality children's footwear. PLG is a unit of Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS), Topeka, Kan., a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories, clothing and other items to consumers worldwide through multiple channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce, franchising and licensing. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio including Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion®, Zoe & Zac(TM), the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, Christian Siriano for Payless, Isabel Toledo for Payless and STPL x Airwalk, among others; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider®, Robeez®, and Saucony®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Above The Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, STRIKEFORCE(TM), Clinch Gear(TM), Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®, World Snowboarding Championships(TM) and Hind®. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.
About LF USA
LF USA is a subsidiary of Li & Fung Limited, the Hong Kong-headquartered multinational consumer goods export and logistics group; and is recognized as the world's leader in consumer goods design, development, sourcing and distribution. From about 140 offices in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia, the Group manages the supply chain for retailers and brands worldwide and sources from more than 40 economies. It also operates an extensive integrated distribution network serving a portfolio of customers. Corporate website: www.lifung.com