NEW YORK — The rights to the Joe’s jeans line, launched for spring by Commerce, Calif.-based Azteca Production International, have been licensed to Innovo Group, a newcomer to the fashion world.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Innovo, which primarily produces tote bags and licensed logo products, will handle sales and design of the jeans line, contracting out the production to Azteca, which owns a stake in Innovo.
Jay Furrow, president of Innovo, said his company has created a new division to handle the Joe’s line and has named Joe Dahan, who created the line, president of that division. Innovo will pay Dahan royalties, in addition to a salary.
“We think it’s a unique opportunity to be able to work with the Joe’s line and with Joe,” he said, adding that the company has begun shipping spring goods already produced by Azteca.
Dahan said that Azteca, which primarily produces private label apparel in Mexico, decided to spin off the line to Innovo, a publicly traded company, because it believed the enterprise would better be able to afford the marketing expenses necessary to develop a brand.
“They just thought it was a better environment to have a brand in a public company,” he said. “It’s easier as far as building a brand for advertising dollars.”
He added that the move over to Innovo allowed him to focus solely on the Joe’s line, since at Azteca he had also had responsibilities for designing the company’s other apparel. He will continue to work out of Los Angeles.
“Now, I’m 100 percent on this line,” he said. “It’s building a baby from scratch.”
According to Innovo’s most recent proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Hubert Guez, a co-owner of Azteca, holds a 13.6 percent stake in the company, which is traded on the Nasdaq.
In the fiscal year ended November 1999, the most recent full year for which results are available, Innovo lost $1.3 million on sales of $10.8 million.

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