By  on January 23, 2008

RYKA & KELLY: After gracing January's cover of Fitness, Kelly Ripa is venturing into activewear design. The sprightly TV personality just signed a three-year contract with Ryka, an active brand owned by American Sporting Goods, to codesign an apparel and footwear collection launching for fall. The working title for the line is the Kelly Ripa Collection for Ryka, and the price range and distribution are still to be determined. She'll also serve as the brand's official spokeswoman. Ripa, a runner and Physique 57 [club and class] devotee who received Ryka shoes and running shorts from the company after discussing her fitness routine on the air, said she will be "as involved as humanly possible" in the design process. "I don't want to just slap my name on something," she said, adding she likely will wear her line in any fitness segment on "Regis & Kelly." "I'm also a human guinea pig for the product line. I actually wear it and decide what works, what fits well and what doesn't." The company said it chose Ripa — who will be appearing in print ad campaigns, online programs and in-store point of purchase packages — because of her commitment to an active lifestyle.

PRANA BUSY ON REVIEW: Prana may be on review by Liz Claiborne Inc., but the activewear brand is still aggressively expanding its business. Following the winter 2007 men's launch of Scapegoat, its premium outerwear line, Prana is adding a women's collection for fall. Wholesaling from $225 to $325, the line will be sold in specialty outdoor stores and boutiques. Door counts and volume estimates are still in the works. Since Prana was put up for sale by the $4.99 billion Claiborne in July, it has opened its first freestanding retail doors and launched Scapegoat. The company is one of only four brands left waiting to hear its future, and analysts speculate that when the niche active brand's fate is decided in the next two months, it will either go for a high price or be kept and expanded by Claiborne.

It's been almost a year since Iconix bought Danskin, and the branding company is pumping "seven figures" into repositioning the dance brand with an ad campaign that breaks this week. It's the first ad campaign for Danskin under the Iconix umbrella, and features Matthew McConaughey's girlfriend, model Camila Alves, whose pregnancy was just announced. "With the ads, we are trying to encourage people to take a different look at Danskin — it's fashion and performance," said Dari Marder, chief merchandising officer of Iconix. "It has such a great history in dance, but also great fashion heritage." With the tag line "everything you remember and more," the ads will appear in March issues of magazines from Self to In Style to Hamptons, said Marder.

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