By  on February 6, 2002

MILAN -- Focusing on upgrading its brand awareness and diversifying, Samsonite has signed a licensing contract with Zamasport for the production and distribution of the company's Blacklabel women's and travel wear lines. The first collection produced by Zamasport bows for fall. In addition to an agreement with Seibu for the distribution of Blacklabel in Japan, Samsonite announced the appointment of Alberta Serantoni as design director of Samsonite Blacklabel Footwear, starting Feb. 1. Serantoni was head of the design office at Diego Della Valle's Hogan brand.

"We have tied Samsonite Blacklabel to three reference names of the fashion world," said Beppi Fremder, president and chief executive of Samsonite SpA. "We have decided to strengthen and develop the Blacklabel brand. Our goal is to place our products in the high end of the international market."

Zamasport, founded in 1966 and based in Novara, has a history of production for fashion houses such as Callaghan, Walter Albini, Versace, Romeo Gigli, Helmut Lang and Gucci. "This license is part of our strategy to consolidate Samsonite Blacklabel, which stemmed from the desire to diversify the Samsonite label and to upgrade the brand," said Fremder. Gigi Vezzola is design director for the label.

Fremder said Serantoni's appointment is part of a strategy to "strengthen the identity and the quality of the product."

With Seibu, which will become the exclusive distributor of Blacklabel, the company plans to open a flagship in Tokyo this year, and, in the short and medium term, two in-store shops and 30 corners in Japan.

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