By  on June 21, 2007

NEW YORK — Retailers and manufacturers scoured the Licensing International Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here for deals to grow their businesses in 2008.

Brands such as Mattel, CBS, Universal Studios, McDonald's and even Elvis turned out to showcase new licensing ideas at the four-day event that ends today.

At the Global Brands Group booth, the company was celebrating its deal with FIFA, the international professional soccer federation. As the master licensee for FIFA, Gary H. Schoenfeld, former head of Vans and now co-chief executive officer at Global Brands, said the mission is to make consumers see the label as a full lifestyle brand.

"We think of our company not as licensees, but instead, as brand owners," Schoenfeld said. "We have a real passion for the growth of our brands."

To begin growing FIFA, the company is launching a full apparel program for men and women, and plans to open 600 to 800 retail locations worldwide in the next four to five years. There also will be a FIFA video game and accessories that display FIFA logos, from the trophy to country-specific graphics. The plan is to raise FIFA's profile as an active, contemporary brand that represents the sport and is known for its fashion sense.

"Our merchandise strategy will make people think of this brand as a lifestyle," said Colin Lyon, senior vice president of merchandising for Global Brands, who joined the company from Nike, where he worked for the last 10 years.

"Our mission here is to filter the FIFA name into the mainstream," Lyon said.

At the Ripe Ideas booth, owner Robin Sayetta was promoting the newly acquired Camp Beverly Hills brand, a popular line in the Eighties that was unsuccessfully relaunched in 2004 as a contemporary brand. Now under the direction of Ripe Ideas and creative direction of "Project Runway" season-one winner Jay McCarroll, the brand will be relaunched as a junior label for spring.

"We've done some comprehensive research and really see this as a brand that people are very excited about," Sayetta said. "Jay has a great eye and really connects with this young customer. He has done a great job with coming up with modern ideas that teens will love."

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