By  on February 21, 2007

NEW YORK — Nicole Miller has signed a licensing deal with Bagir Ltd. to produce tailored clothing for the designer's signature collection and its exclusive line for J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

The deal includes suits, separates, jackets, skirts and tailored pants. All styles for the high-end Nicole Miller Collection and the more moderately priced Nicole by Nicole Miller for J.C. Penney will be produced in Bagir's facilities. Founded outside of Tel Aviv in 1961, Bagir is a vertical company known for its private label merchandise, especially women's and men's suits. In recent years, the company has introduced such novel pieces as machine washable suits and jackets equipped for iPods.

Bagir, a $180 million company, owns production facilities in Jordan, Egypt, Vietnam and China. It also has offices in the U.K., Switzerland, Tel Aviv and New York.

Nicole Miller chief executive officer Bud Konheim said he looks favorably on the widely accepted notion that the suit business is at "the bottom of the cycle" because he feels it is primed for a comeback. Presuming it rebounds, the company is also counting on suit separates to be an integral part, and designing tailored items is something Miller has been doing for years, Konheim said.

"Nicole has always designed them," he said. "We've just never had the ability to make them. They take a lot of structure and inside knowledge."

She has also been buying fabric from Polgat, a Bagir-owned firm, for years, Konheim said.

Bagir and Nicole Miller initially met to discuss a potential tailored clothing deal through a business broker, said David Feig, director of marketing for Bagir. Both parties work with J.C. Penney and that common ground helped them reach an agreement. This marks the first licensing deal for Bagir, which is pursuing acquisitions and licensing deals as part of its global strategy, Feig said.

"We've come to the realization that the only way to exist in business is through viable differentiation," Feig said.

Bagir plans to hire a New York-based staff to oversee its Nicole Miller business, including a brand manager. The company is working out of the Empire State Building, but expects to relocate to 499 Seventh Avenue at the end of April or in early May, Feig said.

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