NEW YORK — Michelle K, a division of Skechers USA, has signed its first licensing agreement with L’Koral Industries, maker of denim brand Seven For All Mankind.

Michelle K, which has become known for its contemporary footwear collections, will team up with L’Koral to produce a line of Michelle K-branded apparel. The line will launch for fall 2004 retailing in better department stores and specialty boutiques. It will also be available in the first Michelle K freestanding store, scheduled to open next month in Los Angeles.

“My vision has always been to create products with personality that would make an amazing first impression,” said Michelle Kelchak, vice president of design, who will have a major role in the design of the clothing collection. “The same holds true with Michelle K apparel, which will be a trend-right complement to my footwear line.”

Under the agreement, the Los Angeles-based L’Koral will design and market a lifestyle collection that reflects designer Michelle K’s personal style and footwear line.

Faith Wall, vice president of licensing at Skechers USA, said, “L’Koral, a $200 million-plus company that has become one of the hottest players in the denim world with Seven For All Mankind jeans, is the right company to do the line. They’re experienced in the brand’s target market, they produce top-quality product and we believe they’re the ideal apparel partner to capture Michelle K’s trend-setting image.”

Kelchak has been with Skechers since 1992, when she was hired as head designer. She became vice president of design in 1998. Skechers gave Kelchak her own line two years ago, which it now aims to turn into a full lifestyle brand.

“Women today appreciate style and quality, but they want more,” said Jane Siskin, president of L’Koral Industries. “They want what’s hot and they want it to be something they can relate to, something they’ll feel comfortable in. Backed by a beautiful female designer, we see the Michelle K brand as the ideal fit for the style-savvy consumer who wants to know that she’s wearing something trendy with an image and attitude.”

Skechers, based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., said last week it was launching a line of junior sportswear slated to hit stores for next year’s back-to-school season under the Somethin’ Else from Skechers label. That line is licensed to Federal Jeans Inc.

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