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Jockey International Inc. is getting into the shapewear business.

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company has signed a licensing agreement with Times Three Clothier LLC to develop a collection of shapewear bearing the Jockey name. The shapewear will be designed by Heather Thomson, founder and president of Times Three, which produces the contemporary Yummie Tummie shapewear brand.

A multimillion-dollar national ad campaign will break Oct. 1 as shipments of Jockey shapers hit stores. The campaign will feature celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe endorsing the new Jockey launch, said Byron Norfleet, president of Jockey’s wholesale and domestic licensing businesses.

The licensing pact is described by Jockey and Times Three officials as a “true collaboration” that will be underscored by a creative twist: Thomson will design and merchandise Jockey shapers, while Jockey will be the first and only company licensed to distribute Yummie Tummie’s patented three-panel control tops and shapers under the Jockey name.

Norfleet said the partnership will enable Jockey to provide Yummie Tummie’s designs and innovation at affordable prices.

“The minute we reviewed the possibility of a partnership with Yummie Tummie it was clear that it was a course we wanted to pursue.…We’re going out with product that we know is already a success at retail,” explained Norfleet. “We licensed the product from Yummie Tummie so we’ll be entering the shapewear market with products that are superior to options available today, and we think it will be a significant business from the first delivery in late September for holiday selling, which is a very strong season for shapewear.”

Suggested retail will be $38 to $57 for Jockey shapers. Styles will include a wardrobe of shaping essentials such as tanks, shorts, briefs and slips available in black, nude, white, dark cherry and navy.

Kenosha, Wis.-based Jockey, a 136-year-old specialist of men’s and women’s underwear, sells its branded product to major department stores and national chains. Yummie Tummie, founded in 2008, sells its branded shapers and ready-to-wear to major specialty stores and high-end boutiques. Suggested retail prices average $48 to $78.

Thomson called Jockey an American icon.

“We all grew up with Jockey so it is a thrill for me as a designer to collaborate with them to bring our shapewear industry knowledge and designs to their customers,” she said. “Jockey was really hungry to launch into shapewear. They’re a major player in underwear and they’ve been looking to modernize Jockey.…It’s kind of like kismet that we were meant to be together…this licensing deal is unique and is a collaboration through and through. Their involvement is key and my involvement is key.”

Regarding the ad campaign, Thomson said, “This is a trifecta with Rachel Zoe.”

Norfleet added that details are being planned for promotional in-store events for the launch.

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