NEW ATSCO EXECS: Atsco Brands, which owns and distributes labels including Ellesse and KangaRoos, has named new executives to its team.

John Kelly was named chief financial officer, Joel Kaplan is the new vice president and director of sourcing, Angela Petropoulos is product manager for Ellesse footwear and Bill Bratton is vice president of sales for Ellesse apparel. Kelly takes over for Eric Siegel, who has left the company, while Bratton and Petropoulos are in new positions. Bratton takes over some of the responsibilities of Maria Stefan, who stepped down in October as president of Ellesse USA.

Atsco brands, best known for footwear, has a new joint venture with Pentland Brands to distribute Ellesse and KangaRoos apparel in the U.S. The company recently opened a showroom at 37th Street in Manhattan to showcase its footwear and apparel, and an advertising campaign for KangaRoos is launching in the spring.

In a separate development, Ellesse has signed on to be the apparel sponsor for the 2006 Tennis Channel Open tournament, which takes place from Feb. 27 to March 5 in Las Vegas. Ellesse will provide clothing and footwear for tournament officials, ball kids, staff members and volunteers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

YOGA FORCE APPAREL SET: Yoga Force has inked a deal with New York’s Sand-n-Steel for a line of licensed apparel.

The collection will include a wide range of performance yoga looks and streetwear styles, said Anne Appleby, president and founder of Yoga Force. Appleby said the company will likely target department stores and high-end boutiques for the line. Founded in 1995, Yoga Force has had apparel from time to time, but is now best known for its gray yoga mat, which has orange stripes and is sold in stores such as Macy’s and The Sharper Image.

MIDDLETON TEAMS WITH TANG: Swim designer Louise Middleton has teamed up with Shanghai Tang to create a cobranded swim collection for the New York retailer.

The items will be in the store starting in May and mark the first time Shanghai Tang has offered swimwear, said a company spokeswoman. The suits retail from about $235 to $270 and include cut-out styles, as well as bikinis in bold colors. Some are adorned with antique Chinese coins.

This story first appeared in the March 2, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

NEW BALANCE DONATION: The New Balance Foundation, the charitable arm of New Balance Athletic Inc., said it will contribute $1 million to Habitat for Humanity to help provide housing for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The gift will be used to support home building in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama starting in the spring, the company said.

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