NEW YORK -- The CK Calvin Klein jeans business appears to be in play.
With the news that the pending deal with Rio Sportswear to take over the business may be on shaky ground, other jeans wear manufacturers have begun expressing interest.
It was learned that at least one of them, Pepe Jeans USA, had talks with Calvin Klein officials last week. And another highly interested company, according to reports emerging late Wednesday, is Fruit of the Loom, the Chicago-based underwear and casualwear maker that last month bought The Gitano Group.
William Farley, chairman of Fruit of the Loom, was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but Lawrence Stroll, chief executive officer of Pepe, confirmed that his company had talks with the Klein firm.
"We are speaking to Barry [Schwartz, chairman of Calvin Klein Inc.], but I don't know what the outcome will be," said Stroll.
Sources said that Klein officials, despite the meeting, do not seem interested in hooking up with Pepe. Reportedly, a different deal is in the works.
A spokeswoman for Calvin Klein Inc. said the company had no comment.
As for Pepe's interest level, Stroll, who in addition to his Pepe holdings is a principal in the company controlling the Tommy Hilfiger men's wear business, said, "Honestly, I don't know. We're very happy with the businesses we own in Tommy Hilfiger and Pepe."
Arnold Simon, president of Rio Sportswear, which had been negotiating to acquire the CK jeans license since February, couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. On Monday, Simon said the deal "seems to be moving ahead."
A letter of intent was signed in February for Rio to buy Calvin Klein's women's and men's jeans division for about $35 million, plus ongoing royalty payments.
Now, sources say that deal may have fizzled because Rio might not be able to finance it and because of what was described as a clash of personalities between Calvin Klein and Simon.
The Calvin Klein jeans business, a pacesetter in the designer denim field, was launched through a licensing pact with Puritan Fashions Corp. in 1978 and by 1983 -- when Klein and Schwartz acquired Puritan -- had reached sales of about $220 million. But a year of so later, the volume had declined to about $130 million.The jeans business currently is said to account for most of the estimated $150 million done by the designer's CK label, which also covers bridge sportswear. Klein officials have refused to specify figures.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)