By and  on February 19, 2009

Italian premium denim brand Replay is setting its sights on South Korea.

The label has reached an agreement with SK Networks, a Seoul-based global marketing company with more than $17 billion in sales, to bring Replay to South Korean customers.

The four-year deal begins with the spring season and includes plans to open seven locations within major department stores and a flagship in the next year. By the end of the four-year period, it is hoped that the brand will be sold at 20 locations in the country and generate revenue of 100 billion won, or about $68.7 million at current exchange.

“Even now, with this testing economic climate, we are confident that Replay will be a great success in [South] Korea because the brand and its philosophy fit well with the [South] Korean consumers,” said Gaetano Sallorenzo, chief executive officer of Replay parent company Fashion Box. “We have been very impressed by SK Networks and its team and we are sure that we will have a great future together.”

Replay will face stiff economic headwinds in its attempt to gain a toehold in the country. During his inauguration speech last week, South Korea’s new finance minister, Yoon Jeung-hyun, said the government anticipates the country’s economy will contract by 2 percent this year. It was a reversal from the government’s previous predictions of 3 percent growth.

SK Networks has a proven track record in South Korea. The company introduced brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and DKNY to the region. In April 2008, SK signed a similar agreement with Elie Tahari.

In a separate development, Replay has tapped Gigi Vezzola as its new creative director.

Vezzola will be in charge of the denim and sportswear brand, the more experimental line We Are Replay and children’s wear line Replay & Sons. He will also supervise the brands, including their licenses, and will be in charge of their global image.

A former creative director at Samsonite, Vezzola has been consulting for Pirelli’s PZero line and Costume National. He also served stints with Krizia and Dolce & Gabbana.

Vezzola said he considers Replay “one of the most important brands on the international scene, at a historical time when denim is an integral part of everybody’s wardrobe.” Vezzola replaces Sergio Arreghini, who died last year.

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