By  on August 26, 2009

Ike Behar is rounding out its offering for the dressed-up man with its first license for outerwear, which will hit stores for fall 2010.

The deal partners the family-owned dress shirt maker with a new entity, Harbour International, a company formed by one of the owners of the leather coat resource Boston Harbour LLC, and an investment group from China.

“In the last six months, Ike Behar has worked to become the premier American dresswear brand,” said Behar president Alan Behar. “Since my father started making shirts, we have added neckwear, small leather goods, cuff links and, most recently, tailored clothing. It made perfect sense to complete the story with a range of dressy outerwear.”

The Ike Behar outerwear business will be headed by coat veteran Carlo Quintiliani, who joined Harbour International from Stuarts Leathers. He said retailers can expect a 20-piece collection of suit-friendly coats and jackets with modern, sophisticated styling. The coats, all 38 inches in length or shorter, will come in cashmere, luxury wools, leathers and technical materials, and will be sold at better specialty stores. “These will be coats for the guy with the corner office who wants confidence, fashion and elegance in his clothes,” Quintiliani explained.

Prices have not been set.

The license is the first indication of Harbour International’s new strategy. The previous company, founded by Thomas Lewis in 1999, eschewed the licensing market for its core leather business led by house brand Boston Harbour, which continues to gross around $20 million a year, according to market sources.

But a desire to grow the business’ production capabilities and inject financing prompted Lewis to seek new partners. He found Jay Shane, proprietor of Shane Industries, which produces leather apparel and furniture in China. Shane, Lewis and Shane’s business associate, Diana Zhang, purchased the business and its trademarks in May from Boston Harbour’s other owners for an undisclosed amount. The three partners then formed Harbour International.

In addition to the Boston Harbour trademark, the company purchased the rights to the Harbour/One and Proshield brands.

Lewis’ new partners’ office in Italy and factory in China doubled the company’s capacity, allowing the firm to pursue new ventures, such as licenses, as well as the markets above its traditional midtier businesses.

“We see the need and an opportunity to offer our customers a wide range of options, from designing in Italy to producing in countries all over the world,” said Lewis, who acts as the new company’s president and chief executive officer. “The days of operating your production from a single country are coming to an end, as delivery requirements and pricing needs to change every season.”

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