By and  on July 2, 2008

MICHAEL STARS GETS PHYSICAL: Michael Stars is diversifying its arsenal of cotton T-shirts with a new line of fleece hoodies, pullovers and slip-on pants. Michael Stars Active Wear begins shipping July 30 for fall with 11 styles cut from Supima jersey fleece in subdued shades of chocolate brown, cream, olive green, toro red and Prussian blue. Retailing from $80 to $160, the line will be sold at retailers including Michael Stars' six branded stores and Nordstrom. The expansion is part of the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company's strategy to become more than a one-trick pony. This year, Michael Stars will introduce an infants' line dubbed Mikey Stars, wool-cashmere blends that will complement its current cashmere offerings and a velvet grouping. "Activewear is a natural extension of our line and was truly inspired for the woman who leads an active and healthy lifestyle," said Michael Cohen, the company's founder and chief executive officer.

BUYING BITS OF BEIJING: As the Olympics fast approaches, Speedo is selling a limited edition Team Speedo USA line that leverages the publicity around its LZR Racer, according to a Speedo spokeswoman. Available from June 1 to Sept. 1, the line will be sold in select Macy's and sporting goods stores, as well as on, which enjoyed its biggest sales month ever in June, thanks to the launch. The women's and men's line, which retails from $17 to $78, includes swimwear, activewear, cover-ups, accessories, footwear and jersey T-shirts with swimmers' names on the back. The Beijing replica suit sold out almost immediately online, and a new shipment will hit the middle of this month.

HOT COTTON EXPANDS: Hot Cotton Inc. is bulking up its management to introduce the new better-priced knit line Marc Ware, as well as expand the $36 million Hot Cotton brand. Launching for spring 2009, Hot Cotton by Marc Ware, which will wholesale from $24 to $40, is projected to be carried in about 200 better doors for spring and do between $5 million and $8 million in wholesale volume. Hot Cotton sportswear, which wholesales from $18 to $24 in some 800 doors, including Nordstrom, Macy's and Lord & Taylor, will expand for spring by offering additional knits, according to Nicholas DeMarco, chief executive officer of Hot Cotton. The Los Angeles-based company has hired Aris Lallis, formerly senior merchandising vice president of women's at May Co., as vice president of merchandising, and Renee McGovern, vice president of U.S. sales at Conrad C., as vice president of sales at Hot Cotton. They report to DeMarco.FREE COUNTRY GOES TO THE BEACH: Free Country, a moderate sportswear and outerwear brand, is dipping into swim. Launching for resort, the swim line will wholesale from $10 to $30. The $100 million New York-based firm projects the active-focused swim line will do $5 million in wholesale volume.

JEREMY'S HEROES HONORS SCARPA: Jeremy's Heroes seventh anniversary Golf Classic honored Michael Scarpa, chief operating officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., with the Sportsmanship Award for outstanding leadership, generosity and compassion. The event at Maplewood Country Club in New Jersey on June 16 raised around $125,000 for Jeremy's Heroes, a nonprofit organization named for Jeremy Logan Glick, a passenger aboard Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, who sacrificed his life to help prevent terrorists from flying the plane into their intended Washington target. The foundation funds programs including sports camp tuition, physical education and after-school programs.

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