Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake dance to 'Single Ladies' during the Men's Singles Quarterfinals at the US Open.


Tommy, Calvin and now Jimmy?

G-III Apparel Corp. is adding Jimmy Fallon to its roster of marquee names that already includes Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. The group will launch Hands High, a new sports apparel line inspired by Fallon,“The Tonight Show” host and comedian.

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

At the same time, G-III has revealed a new dress collection with Hilfiger, a brand with which it already has other licenses.

Hands High will feature professional team logos from the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL that will be located in a different place – under a fan’s arms. Hands High will be available this month at retailers throughout the U.S., as well as at official team and stadium shops and official league Web sites.

Knowing that sports fans spend a great deal of their time during games cheering and high-fiving, Fallon’s concept sparked a new partnership with G-III. Fallon worked with the G-III design and sales team on all aspects of the project.

“It was a concept that Jimmy dreamt up and found us,” said Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer of G-III. Fallon, a sports fan, went to the leagues with G-III. “It was better done through Jimmy’s eyes. Every league bought in, and we’re going to have colleges as well,” said Goldfarb, whose company also has a large team sports business.

According to Goldfarb, Fallon’s idea was to take the logo that is usually placed on one’s chest or body, and place it on the underarm, where it’s not seen when the wearer’s hands are down. “It’s on the side, it’s in the armpit and the under cap of the sleeve. It will be on the front as well. When people put their hands up for high-five, that’s the best place in the world to put a logo. As Jimmy says, that’s beachfront,” said Goldfarb.

Prices are slightly higher than typical sports apparel. T-shirts will retail for $35 and a fleece hoodie will retail for $75 or $80. Goldfarb declined to reveal first-year sales projections. “We have no idea. He may be changing the entire idea of placement of fans’ logos. It could be very significant. Our orders are great, but we’ve got limited distribution initially to Dick’s Sporting Goods, department store venues and the stadiums. The launch will be at Lids, which oversees team licensing product at Macy’s. It will also be carried online at Fanatics and at all the stadiums,” said Goldfarb.

Fallon is filming some commercial videos and will have a jingle. “Jimmy is a sports fanatic and he’ll be at the stadium. Can you imagine the wave? He’ll do hands-high, and everybody will have a Hands High T-shirt,” said Goldfarb. The label won’t carry Fallon’s name, but will be promoted on “The Tonight Show.”

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“Nobody gets more eyeballs than Jimmy and social media will be off the charts. We’re psyched and it brings a lot of attention to our team license business. It’s great having Jimmy’s energy all around. He’s here frequently and is really working it,” said Goldfarb. He anticipates the collection will be profitable.

Goldfarb said G-III intends to launch women’s and kids’ in the spring.

“Hands High will fire up crowds to cheer with their hands in the air and bring the thrill of the game to a whole new level of fun,” Fallon said.

Hands High will launch with men’s T-shirts, long-sleeved tops, zip hoodies and pullover sweatshirts. The launch will be supported by an integrated media and marketing program to build awareness.

Through its team sports business, G-III has licenses with the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities.

In other G-III news, Tommy Hilfiger has entered into a license agreement to introduce a line of women’s dresses. Beginning in February, the Hilfiger collection will be available at select department stores, including Macy’s, specialty stores and e-commerce partners in the U.S. and Canada.

“This could be our single biggest launch. The reception to this collection was amazing,” said Goldfarb. “Most department stores have written it aggressively,” he said. Some merchandise will hit in the fourth quarter, but the launch will be spring, said Goldfarb, who declined to give a first-year sales projection, but said, “it will be significant.”

The spring collection is inspired by iconic American style, with a modern twist featuring bold use of print and color, and feminine fabrics and finishes. The collection, which spans dresses, coordinating shrugs and cardigans, will retail from $99 to $149. The initial term of the agreement is five years, with G-III having the right to renew for an additional five-year term subject to achieving certain sales levels.

G-III already partners with Hilfiger on its outerwear and luggage lines.

“Our women’s collections are a key area of focus and a high-potential growth category for the brand globally,” said Daniel Grieder, ceo of Hilfiger.

Goldfarb added that he’s looking forward to deepening their strategic relationships with the Hilfiger organization and its parent, PVH Corp. He also is eager to expand the company’s leadership in the dress category.

Goldfarb, whose company also has the Calvin Klein better women’s sportswear, outerwear and performance apparel license, said PVH, parent company of Calvin Klein Inc., is the company’s largest licensor. G-III’s other licensed brands include Jessica Simpson, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, Guess, Ivanka Trump and Vince Camuto.

 

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