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Aigner in Full Stride

NEW YORK — The horseshoe is galloping to new meadows.<br><br>The Aigner Group, which is updating its product assortment and expanding its licensing and consumer-direct business, has signed licenses for legwear, fashion watches, gloves and...

NEW YORK — The horseshoe is galloping to new meadows.

The Aigner Group, which is updating its product assortment and expanding its licensing and consumer-direct business, has signed licenses for legwear, fashion watches, gloves and prescription eyewear.

The new agreements will cover the Etienne Aigner brand, known for its use of burgundy leather and its signature horseshoe “A” logo, and E/A by Etienne Aigner, the company’s new, mid-tier label. E/A was launched at J.C. Penney stores last year and has since expanded its distribution to include select mid-tier chains such as Mervyn’s and Famous Footwear.

Aigner will launch socks and hosiery next spring with Hickory, N.C.-based Paul Lavitt Mills, which also produces legwear under license for Nicole Miller, Phat Farm and Alexander Julian. The line will feature such classifications as trouser socks with various prints and weaves, and fashion tights such as opaques, fishnets and textures, including the Etienne Aigner logo print. Wholesale prices for socks will be about $3 for Etienne Aigner and about $2 for E/A by Etienne Aigner. The prices for hosiery have not been determined.

Fada International, whose Geneva Watch Co. division produces licensed watches for Tommy Bahama, Kenneth Cole and Mudd, will manufacture and market fashion watches for Aigner Group. Etienne Aigner watches will debut in Aigner stores for holiday and retail for $50 to $90. E/A by Etienne Aigner watches will be distributed to select mid-tier stores next spring, selling for about $25 to $29 retail.

A capsule collection of gloves launched in Aigner stores last year, and now the company is rolling out a full line to select department and specialty stores in a license with Johnstown, N.Y.-based Gates Gloves.

The glove collection will feature classic two-button and four-button leather and lamb suede styles, contrast stitching, button and hardware treatments, and gold-tone hardware similar to that of Aigner handbags and footwear. Lined either in cashmere or Thinsulate, the gloves are available in burgundy, black and chocolate brown. Wholesale prices range from $11 to $20.

As for its prescription frames, they are licensed by Valhalla, N.Y.-based Metzler USA. These will launch in optical retailers next spring. Wholesale prices for the line, which will include metals and plastic styles in a variety of colors, will range from $40 to $50. Both lines will be distributed in the U.S. by Newark, N.J.-based Liberty Optical.

E/A by Etienne Aigner frames, whose prices are yet to be determined, will be distributed to mid-tier and mass market leased optical chains. The licensee’s German-based parent, Metzler International AG, also manufactures licensed prescription eyewear and sunwear for United Colors of Benetton, Vivenne Westwood, Red Rose and Revlon.

“The Etienne Aigner brand has become visible to a whole new generation of women and they are interested in more than shoes and accessories,” said Wendy Hessen, vice president of licensing and marketing for the Edison, N.J.-based firm. “We chose these particular product categories after testing in our own stores revealed what our customers are looking for from Etienne Aigner.”

The company has annual sales of $150 million. Hessen declined to disclose projections for the license agreements.

Aigner product is distributed to department stores nationwide; the company’s e-commerce site, etienneaigner.com, five Etienne Aigner signature stores, and 60 outlet stores.