NEW YORK — The boys have been able to wear sports jerseys for years — now it’s the girls’ turn.

In a collaboration with G-III Apparel Group and former National Football League player Carl Banks, a line of Hardwood Classics and Cooperstown Vintage junior apparel lines will hit the stores in time for spring 2003 selling.

Inspired by uniforms worn by the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball players, the sporty but sleek collection features studded satin baseball jackets, low-waisted boot-cut sweat suits, off-the-shoulder tops, perforated leather motocross jackets, boy-cut shorts, hoodies and tube and halter tops. All pieces are branded with vintage team logos, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Knicks, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.

"The whole throwback thing is on fire. We took it from an outerwear perspective to when Starter was hot," said Banks, the company’s vice president. "The demands from women all over is out of control. Female celebs were cutting and tailoring men’s jerseys to get the look. They still didn’t fit and the cost would come to around $200. With this new craze going on with all the throwback stuff, it was natural that we extend our brand into the women’s market."

The collection’s wholesale price range is from $17.50 to $250.00. G-III plans to participate in coop advertising with several retailers and work closely with the NBA and MLB to host in-store events. It will place strong emphasis on public relations and marketing strategies, celebrity affiliations and corporate alliances with youth-driven brands to veer and heighten the Hardwood Classics and Cooperstown name.

So far, Banks said specialty and department stores have booked about $3.5 million in merchandise.

G-III, which had sales of $155 million for the nine months ended Oct. 31, already holds licensing agreements with the NFL, National Hockey League, NBA, MLB and more than 50 universities nationwide. It is a manufacturer and distributor of leather and nonleather outerwear apparel under several proprietary brands and private labels. It also has licensing deals with Kenneth Cole Productions, Timberland, Cole Haan, Jones Apparel Group and Sean John.

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