KAMALI LICENSES BODY, ACTIVE LINES

Byline: K.M.

NEW YORK--In another step to transform her company from a designer/manufacturer to a design firm with joint ventures and licenses, Norma Kamali has licensed her bodywear and activewear to Weekend Exercise Co., San Diego.
The line, called OMO Gym Norma Kamali, was introduced by the designer's own company a year ago. Production had been contracted out.
Wholesale volume in the first three years of the licensing pact are projected at $25 million, said Arthur Levinson, chief executive officer of Weekend.
The line, which carries simply the Norma Kamali label, will continue to be designed by Kamali. Weekend picked up production a month ago for cruise deliveries scheduled for December, said Levinson.
The spring and summer line is being previewed to retailers this month at the designer's showroom here at 11 West 56th St.
Distribution, which has been limited, would continue to be aimed at department stores and specialty stores, but would be expanded, he said.
"We will be taking a very aggressive approach," said Levinson. "The opportunity was unique for us. We have been looking for new avenues of distribution and for more open-to-buy dollars from stores."
The activewear/bodywear deal is the fourth licensing or joint venture agreement the designer's firm--OMO Norma Kamali--has signed this year. The others are a joint venture with Augustus Clothiers for suits and two licensing deals--one with Roma Industries for belts and another with D'Rossana for shoes.
When it was announced last month that Kamali had pulled out of the upcoming 7th on Sixth runway shows, a spokeswoman attributed the decision to the restructuring at the company to emphasize licensing, although the designer has yet to discuss it fully.
Kamali said, "I've always had an interest in proportion; a good part of what I do is swimwear and bodywear. For me, the exciting part is it's the most modern way to dress. When people will look back at the Nineties, they'll think of everything that is associated with sports and the gym."

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