By  on June 30, 2005

LOS ANGELES — Nike Inc., known for its tech-savvy performance gear, is moving beyond the playing field for its latest apparel initiative.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic giant believes Jordan, its new women's lifestyle clothing line, will appeal to the consumer who knows and loves Michael Jordan but whose sports knowledge may not extend to the difference between man-to-man and zone defense strategies.

The Jordan brand dates back almost 20 years. The first Air Jordan sneaker made its debut in February 1986, and now the shoes retail from anywhere between $100 and $175. Nike often limits purchases of some newer styles to one pair per household. Sports-inspired basketball jerseys, hoodies and shorts make up much of the men's and children's lines.

Fran Boller, Nike's business director for Jordan apparel, said the company has found that young women also are purchasing the line.

"Female consumers are buying the boys' sizes in footwear and apparel to fit their needs, so there's obvious interest out there," Boller said.

To adapt it to broader female tastes, Nike chose to create clothing and footwear for functions apart from athletics, a move in step with competition such as Puma and Fila's new Filativa directional division.

The first eight-piece Jordan line will ship Oct. 1, with two more deliveries slated for Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 in vivid color stories of black and pink; beige with colorful striping, and black, white and red, respectively.

Jordan will offer zip-up jackets, hoodies, T-shirts and sweatpants made with poly-nylon, silky nylon and stretch microfleece fabrics. They are given an upgrade with rhinestone accents, satin linings and a twist to the brand's logo, the Jumpman, fashioned out of chrome. The hood of a jacket lined in red satin paired with tear-away pants with stripes on the side and a cream-colored outfit brightened with stripes.

"We want this line to be a combination of athletic luxury," Boller said.

The line's lofty aspiration gets a stamp of approval through the help of its namesake, who is involved in its design. Gemo Wong, Jordan's design director, oversees the line, but Boller said the company is in the process of hiring a designer for women's.

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