By  on September 4, 2007

LAS VEGAS — Neema, the tailored clothing company that owns a number of traditional brands including Coconut Grove and Haspel, announced the purchase of a new label, Kroon, for an undisclosed amount.

“We really liked the product,” said Jim Ammeen, president of Neema, during a break from sales appointments at MAGIC. “It’s got a young sportswear feel that we think is going to do great things in the market.”

While the line is mostly untested—it just shipped its first season—Kroon has already locked in 150 accounts, including a few Nordstrom doors and half of the Forum Group.

The line is the brainchild of Michael Wheelan and Brent Kestin, longtime friends and business partners who previously collaborated on Ibiza, a label they helped found in 2004. Wheelan and Kestin left Ibiza last year after a dispute with the other partners.

“We wanted to do a line of suits and jackets with a young, hip attitude that actually fit,” said Wheelan, who pitched a partnership to Ammeen four months ago.

The collection is full of denim-friendly sport coats and casual suits. The fit is slightly slimmer but Wheelan said the product’s youthfulness stems more from its make and fabrication. “We want Middle America to fit in this,” said Wheelan.

The jackets come in two models—soft, with no pad or chest piece, and soft tailored, with a bit more construction. The spring offering features linen blends, so-called summer tweeds (washed silk), a khaki suit with wrinkle recovery and unlined cotton blazers that are rich in details like fancy lining, pocket treatments and trims. “It’s all about detail,” said Kestin.

Jackets retail between $295 and $395, and suits sell from $495 to $595. The company plans to add trousers soon and expects to gross more than $4 million in 2008.

While Kestin identifies their target audience as between 27 and 38 years of age, he said the line could resonate with a more mature consumer as well. “It used to be that a young man wanted to dress like his father, now it’s the reverse,” he said.

For Neema, the acquisition is a result of the success it’s had with other younger lines, like BCBG Attitude. That license has performed well beyond company expectations. “It’s an indication of where we need to go,” said Jeffrey Ammeen, company vice-president and Jim’s son.

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