Neema Clothing Ltd., which sold its private label assets to Haggar Clothing Co. in February, is now winding down its branded business.
This story first appeared in the October 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to market and financial sources, certain of the company’s inventory was sold to the Samsung Group, which is part of Cheil Industries of South Korea. Cheil began in 1954 as a textiles firm and expanded into men’s wear operations.
Neema holds the men’s wear licenses for the Kroon and Haspel brands, and owns the master license for men’s wear for the Halston brand, which is owned by Hilco Consumer Credit.
James Ammeen, president and chief executive officer of Neema, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
However, sources said Jeffrey Ammeen, James Ammeen’s son and the former executive vice president of Neema, has started a new “marketing-driven” company, Blue Lion, that will handle the sales and merchandising for Kroon, Haspel and Halston. Blue Lion is currently searching for office space in Manhattan, one source said.
Market sources also said Samsung is financing the Blue Lion venture, and the South Korean company will also handle the back-office production end for the licensed businesses who have entered into new licensing agreements with Blue Lion and sublicenses with Samsung.
Reached at her Baton Rouge, La., office, Laurie Haspel Aronson, president of the family-owned Haspel brand, said she was comfortable with the new arrangement. “Jeffrey Ammeen is full of energy and excitement and we look forward to seeing what developments are in store for his new company,” she said.
At Neema, Jeffrey Ammeen had been working with the family to revitalize the Haspel label and turn it into an American lifestyle brand with multiple categories of merchandise. Its most recent venture was the expansion into sportswear through a licensing agreement with Components by John McCoy, which will produce wovens in cotton and linen, pants, walk shorts, swimwear, knit shirts, T-shirts and sweaters to complement the tailored clothing. That merchandise is still scheduled to debut for spring.
The Halston men’s lines were relaunched a year ago, led by a luxury-level main collection of suits and sportswear and a secondary line called Heritage, which is more fashion- and sportswear-driven at lower price points. Kroon’s claim to fame is its denim-friendly sport coats and casual suits.