VF Corp.’s Lee Jeans brand has licensed Five Star Blue LLC to produce and market several categories of children’s, infant and toddler apparel under the Lee name in the U.S. and Mexico.

Beginning in the fall, New York-based Five Star will have responsibility for boys’ tops from sizes 4 through 20; girls’ denim and knit bottoms in sizes 4 through 16, and denim, twill and knit bottoms in infant and toddler sizes.

Lee, based in Merriam, Kan., will continue to produce and market boys’ jeans and pants on its own.
The terms and duration of the licensing agreement weren’t disclosed, although it is a long-term arrangement, the parties said.

Five Star’s association with the brand comes as Lee prepares to mark its 125th anniversary in 2014.
“We are pleased to partner with a brand with such strong roots in the apparel industry, and relevant trend appeal to both kids and adults,” said Albert Pardo, president of Five Star Blue.

Pardo told WWD that as it has done with various other brands for which it is licensed, Five Star has formed a team to handle merchandising and sales for Lee.

“We’re following suit with Lee’s distribution in department store and midtier retailers,” he said. “We’ll also have distribution in baby superstores in the U.S., in select stores in Mexico and also on lee.com.”


Five Star’s other licenses include Izod denim for men, from PVH Corp.; Zipway activewear, from the NBA, and Hudson Jeans for kids.

Liz Cahill, vice president of marketing at Lee, said, “Lee has offering children’s apparel in the past, but this is the first time we’re entering the market with an assortment this broad and all-encompassing. The retail climate is right for an expanding children’s apparel line from Lee, and we have a great partner to bring out product to capitalize on the demand.”

VF said last week that worldwide sales of Lee, one of its five “billion-dollar brands,” last year were $1.1 billion and are expected to grow to $1.4 billion by 2017. The other brands with 2012 sales above $1 billion are The North Face, $1.9 billion; Wrangler, $1.6 billion, and Vans and Timberland, each with $1.5 billion.

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