By  on March 20, 2013

Authentic Brands has signed the first license for its newly acquired HMX Group, tapping PVH Corp. to produce a variety of furnishings categories under the Hart Schaffner Marx and Hickey Freeman names.

Under the terms of the five-year license, PVH will manufacture dress shirts, neckwear, underwear and loungewear, with the ties launching for fall-holiday of this year and the dress shirts, underwear and loungewear hitting the market for spring 2014, according to David Sirkin, president of neckwear for PVH. The underwear and loungewear categories are brand extensions for HMX.

Sirkin said PVH will work with the design team at HMX to get direction so it can produce “the best assortment that represents their traditional lifestyle. We’ll collaborate on the product mix.”

The brands will be managed by PVH’s Insignia division, which oversees higher-priced brands, and the product will be distributed to better department and specialty stores.

“Hart Schaffner and Hickey haven’t been as penetrated in [furnishings] as in clothing, so we see a huge opportunity with their existing retail base,” Sirkin said.

Price points for ties will range from $69.50 to $135, pocket squares will be $40 to $80, and bow ties will retail for $50 to $95. The prices for the other products haven’t been finalized, Sirkin said.

Nick Woodhouse, president of Authentic Brands, said the dress shirts had previously been produced by HMX directly, “but we knew we needed someone with PVH’s bandwidth to really do this correctly.” He stressed that this should not be construed as a precursor to also licensing out the production of HMX’s tailored clothing brands. “I can’t stress enough that Made in the USA is the hallmark of these brands, and that won’t change,” Woodhouse said. Under the terms of the purchase, Authentic Brands bought the intellectual property of HMX and Doug Williams, its former chief executive officer, is operating the brands and has retained its American manufacturing facilities.

Woodhouse said he sees potential in all these newly licensed categories. “Having Hickey Freeman on the waistband of men’s briefs is a great extension,” he said.

The licenses also cover Hickey by Hickey Freeman and HSM 1887, two lower-priced diffusion labels. “Now that the company is invested and highly capitalized, we can do derivatives,” he said.

Concept One has also been licensed to produce belts, small leather goods, headwear, bags and cold-weather items for both the premium and diffusion labels, Woodhouse said.

Looking ahead, Woodhouse said the company will be seeking licensees for outerwear, footwear, sportswear, fragrance and home, in that order.

Woodhouse said he’s pleased with the company’s performance since it was acquired at the end of last year. “Being an old retailer, it’s all about making the cash registers ring,” he said. “The lines are checking at retail and the fall bookings are healthy, so [Authentic Brands ceo] Jamie Salter and I are very happy so far.”

Mitchell Lechner, president of PVH’s dress furnishings and licensing division, said: “We are excited about our partnership with ABG for the Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx brands. These are outstanding brands with a tradition of excellence that complement our current portfolio. Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx were founded on the principles of authenticity, quality, elegance and innovation. The addition of these brands will allow us to bring innovative product, a new design aesthetic, as well as a strong dress shirt and neckwear synergy to the better specialty retailers.”

In addition to HMX, PVH recently added two other brands to its portfolio: Tallia and Perry Ellis. The first Tallia dress shirts will hit the market in May and will retail for $89.50. PVH introduced Tallia neckwear and cold-weather items for fall. And Perry Ellis dress shirts are being introduced for spring at $59.50 to $69.50 retail.

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