MILAN — Diesel’s Staff International division has signed an agreement to sell its New York Industrie brand to McAdams, a company specializing in knitwear based outside Vicenza, Italy. McAdams, which produces and distributes the Cividini and Enigma brands, will take over design, production and distribution of the New York Industrie label for men and women starting with the spring-summer 2004 collection.

"I think Staff has its hands full with the Martin Margiela brand and the D Squared license, and that it should focus on building those businesses," said Diesel owner Renzo Rosso, in an interview. Diesel took control Margiela last fall and signed a 10-year agreement with Dan and Dean Caten to produce and distribute their D Squared men’s and women’s lines two years ago.

"Now, each brand has its own father and heart that beats behind it," said Rosso.

Rosso also said McAdams will start producing and distributing Margiela’s knitwear division, starting with the spring-summer 2004 collection. The knitwear division makes up about 35 percent of the designer’s collection.

Rosso cited McAdams’ "outstanding know-how, flexibility and dynamism," and said he was confident the company will develop and expand New York Industrie, a brand that, he said, has a "huge potential."

Gioacchino Longo, president of McAdams, said in a phone interview that he has tapped Alberto Biani to design the New York Industrie brand. Biani originally designed the line when it was launched in 1977, giving it an androgynous twist and launching Beirut pants, a men’s model redesigned for women, tight at the ankles and with lateral splits. Biani last designed Marzotto’s Borgofiori line.

Longo said he wanted to focus on distributing the line around the world and streamlining its consumer target and price range.

"The line should be aimed at a 30- to 45-year-old customer in the medium-high-end range of the market," said Longo. He said in five seasons, he wants to grow sales of the brand to about $25 million from the current $6 million.

Rosso acquired Staff International in 2000. While he terminated the licenses with Mila Schön, Salvatore Ferragamo, Atsuro Tayama, Ungaro and Bella Freud and suppressed the owned brand Gym, Rosso maintained the New York Industrie label, tapping the Greek-German designer Kostas Murkudis to design the line."Murkudis redefined the line as a young ready-to-wear collection, more in line with my mentality of comfortable and casual, easy-to-wear," said Rosso.

Staff International, based in Vicenza, also produces Diesel StyleLab, Vivienne Westwood and Lagerfeld Gallery.

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