PADDING NESI’S CLOSET: Nesi Fashion Brands isn’t quite ready to confirm persistent market reports that it’s got the North American men’s apparel license for Eminem in hand, but sources say it’s a matter of days before the company announces that it will introduce the Detroit-bred rapper to the apparel universe with test-marketing to begin in March and a full launch slated for back to school.

The New York-based young men’s specialist, which also markets Rocawear Juniors, is staffing up in a way that leaves little doubt about its plans. Phil Molinari, former president of Cluett North America, has joined Nesi in the new post of president of sales, marketing and merchandising, reporting to chief executive Vincent Nesi, who founded the company in 1998 and who worked with Molinari during Nesi’s tenure as president of Bugle Boy Industries. Additionally, reporting to Molinari, Joseph Burke, formerly of Macy’s and Mervyn’s and most recently head of kids’ and women’s apparel at Foot Locker, has joined Nesi as executive vice president with responsibility for "its soon-to-be-named global superstar fashion label." Nesi has retained Lizzie Grubman p.r. to promote Nesi’s brands and work continues on a separate showroom at the company’s offices at 1466 Broadway.

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