Agave men's

Known for casual women’s clothing, XCVI is breaking into the men’s denim market with its acquisition of Agave.

As the new owner of the trademark for the 14-year-old denim and knits brand, XCVI takes over the design, manufacturing and global distribution of Agave products. Agave’s founder, Jeff Shafer, remains creative director.

The deal excluded Bluer Denim Project, Shafer’s youth-oriented, less-expensive brand that was born three years ago on Kickstarter. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The purchase of Agave is XCVI’s latest attempt to diversify its portfolio. Earlier this year, it made its segue into the women’s activewear industry with a sub-brand called XCVI Movement. The Vernon, Calif.-based company has racked up more than 20 years of manufacturing experience under founder Gita Zeltzer. It also offers full-package services, ranging from design to production at certified factories in the U.S. and overseas, to clients such as Ralph Lauren, Guess, Rag & Bone, True Religion and NYDJ. Zeltzer’s children, Alon and Daniela, now lead the company as chief executive officer and marketing director, respectively.

“With a 20-year history of authentic California design, we share a passion for brand building with an updated approach that will refine this timeless classic,” said Alon Zeltzer.

Looking for the right opportunity, Daniela Zeltzer noted the similarities — such as corporate culture, demographics and lifestyle — between XCVI and Agave. “It seemed like too much of a special opportunity to pass up,” she said.

Founded in Santa Monica, Calif., Agave operates out of headquarters in Ridgefield, Wash., which is located outside of Portland, Ore. Adhering to a “Made in U.S.” creed, it has based its production in Los Angeles while handling design and distribution in Ridgefield. While its women’s business has gone through a few revamps under different designers, including Yael Torbati and Shafer’s wife, Lauren Shafer, the men’s division makes up the majority of sales through Nordstrom and specialty retailers. It also emphasizes sustainability, as evidenced by a partnership formed in 2009 with electric carmaker Tesla, which outfitted its dealership employees in Agave jeans and shirts.

“In building the Agave brand, it has always been integral for me to manufacture the product in an ethical and sustainable way,” Shafer said.

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