By  on October 18, 2007

NEW YORK — Iconix Brand Group is rounding out the offerings of its Rampage brand with the introduction of a full denim collection.

Iconix has signed a 10-year licensing agreement with 9.8 Jeans, a subsidiary of Land 'N Sea Inc., to develop the Rampage-branded denim collection, which will launch in department stores such as Macy's and Dillard's for spring.

Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer of Iconix, said in an interview that Rampage has offered denim periodically throughout its more than 20-year history. With retailers looking for strong national brands and denim styles running the gamut from wide-leg to skinny styles, Cole said it was a promising time to introduce denim as a new brand staple.

"There's some uncertainty in the denim market," Cole said. "There's a lack of one major trend....I think Rampage has a point of view. It's a wonderful time in an interesting denim cycle to come into the market in a big way."

Cole is also hoping to take advantage of the desire among major retailers to stock their shelves with brands that are exclusive to their stores. Cole said he sees retailers parting with some brands, leaving room for an established name to expand. The Rampage brand brings in about $300 million a year at retail.

"Better department stores, they feel there's a huge opportunity for Rampage because a lot of the brands they've been carrying for the last few years, they're not going to be carrying," Cole said.

The 9.8 Jeans firm was among seven or eight companies that were interested in developing Rampage denim, he said. Kirk Gellin, president and ceo of Land 'N Sea, said the company made the investment to produce samples of the line before meeting with Iconix. Gellin said they were able to show Iconix management some 200 styles complete with rivet details and Rampage packaging.

"The consumer is very familiar with the Rampage name; that's a staple in their closets and it has been a dressier product," Gellin said. "What we believe she'll get excited about is that she'll have the opportunity to have [Rampage] on the casual side, as well."Gellin said the initial launch will consist of about 20 styles, from skinny fits to wide-leg trouser styles. Basic styles will retail for $48, and more fashion-forward products will retail for $58 to $68.

The wide-sweeping selection is designed to meet the needs of different regions of the U.S. For instance, Gellin said West Coast retailers have found more success with skinny fits while wide-leg styles have failed to gain much traction.

"Different parts of the country are selling different leg openings," he said. "It's not a nationwide thing where just everyone is selling skinnys or wide legs."

Gellin sees department stores welcoming a strong brand with a solid marketing platform behind it.

"We believe the major department store is looking to have legitimate brands in their stores and also nationally advertised brands wherever they can, and Iconix does a wonderful job promoting the Rampage brand," Gellin said.

Petra Nemcova is in her second year as the face of Rampage.

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