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KENNETH COLE SHOW DELAY: Kenneth Cole New York is taking another season off the runway. Once a mainstay as the first show of New York Fashion Week, Cole’s last show was in February 2006. The designer had planned to make his comeback in September 2007, then decided to delay until February 2008 so the runway return would coincide with the firm’s 25th anniversary. But now that comeback is going to have to wait at least one more season. A spokeswoman for the designer said the show was again delayed to September 2008. “We are working with Fern Mallis and her IMG team to have a Kenneth Cole presence at the tent via branding and social messaging,” said a spokeswoman for Kenneth Cole. “When we feel our men’s and women’s collections are runway-ready, we will return to the tents.”
GOOD DEEDS FROM EILEEN FISHER: Eileen Fisher honored the five recipients of her fourth annual business grant program for woman entrepreneurs with a two-day conference Monday and Tuesday in New York — and a $10,000 grant. The bridge designer’s volunteer donations committee chose the winners from more than 200 applications, evaluating them on innovation, social consciousness, sustainability, the environmental impact of their business, intended use of grant money and alignment with the mission of Eileen Fisher. The recipients are: Hot Bread Kitchen, a Brooklyn, N.Y.–based social-purpose bakery; LoooLo Textiles, a Montreal-based home textiles design company; Milkweed Mercantile, an eco-inn in rural northeastern Missouri, slated to open this spring; One Good Woman, a Camp Hill, Pa.-based purveyor of coffees, teas and gourmet gifts, and To-Go Ware, a Berkeley, Calif.-based maker of reusable utensils. The women said the highlight of the conference was lunch with Fisher at her home. “Eileen will never forget her origins as a business founder,” said Amy Hall, the director of social consciousness “She remembers the early days as she struggled to pay the next bill and fill the next order she had received. The money is the nominal part of it — a lot of it is about telling them ‘we believe in you.'”
NO PLAYING, NO PROBLEM? Martina Hingis may have lost her pro career, but she still has her sponsorships for now. Adidas has sponsored Hingis since 1999, and her earlier retirement from tennis, after she tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon last year, has not severed the relationship. Hingis announced in November she would retire rather than fight the charges. Although drug use violates Adidas’ policy with its sponsored athletes, “we presume her innocence until all cases have been presented, and we will wait to make final judgments until the window of opportunity for an appeal has passed,” according to a spokeswoman for Adidas. But the five-time Grand Slam champion is not out of the woods yet. Adidas added, “Each athlete contract with Adidas includes a clear clause, stating that the agreement shall be terminated by Adidas if he or she is found guilty of the possession or use of drugs or any other prohibited substance by the relevant governing sports body having jurisdiction over the athlete.”
This story first appeared in the January 16, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
MEANWHILE, K-SWISS TENNIS DEAL: K-Swiss has signed tennis pro Mardy Fish to a four-year contract to endorse K-Swiss shoes and apparel, for “a base in the low-mid six figures annually and includes a performance and rankings bonus,” according to Blue Equity LLC, which represented Fish in the deal. As K-Swiss expands its tennis focus, Fish, a silver medal winner in the 2004 Olympics and No. 39 ranked American in men’s tennis, joins Tommy Haas and WTA sisters Alona and Katerina Bondarenko as the stars of the brand’s North American marketing campaign. For the past four years, Fish has endorsed Adidas.
FIFA KICKS OFF RETAIL: Soccer’s international governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, has made its first foray into retail. Today the brand will unveil a 1,600-square-foot FIFA store in Terminal 3 of Singapore’s Changi airport. It’s the first store to open since FIFA appointed the Singapore-based Global Brands Group, a brand management, retail and licensing company, as its worldwide exclusive master licensee and store operator in 2005. In addition to the deal to open FIFA stores, which spans from 2007 to 2014, Global Brands Group has developed FIFA fashion product lines using the organization’s vintage logos and imagery, dating back to logos from FIFA’s first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay. Prices range from around 30 Singapore dollars, or about $20 at current exchange, for a baseball cap, through to 300 Singapore dollars, or about $210, for a tracksuit. Alongside FIFA’s own products, the store will also carry Adidas apparel and footwear. FIFA isn’t stopping at Singapore — Global Brands Group plans to open between 2,000 and 3,000 FIFA stores and shop-in-shops over the next seven years. Next in the brand’s sights are stores in London, Tokyo and Los Angeles, along with a FIFA e-commerce site that’s set to launch for fall. Global Brands Group will also set up temporary FIFA Event stores throughout South Africa when the company hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
— W.B., with contributions from Nina Jones