REEBOK’S BIG NIGHT: Ashanti, Tommy Hilfiger, Ice Cube, Richie Rich, Kelis, Lydia Hearst and Nas were in the eclectic crowd at Marquee in New York last week to celebrate the newest faces in the Reebok stable.
“I have been a shoe freak forever,” Nelly said during a news conference before the party to introduce his new line of Reebok sneakers.
The other artists touting their Reebok footwear lines were Daddy Yankee, Lupe Fiasco and Mike Jones. Reggeaton artist Daddy Yankee, a native of Puerto Rico, said, without a hint of modesty, “I am the voice of the people; of young, urban Latinos.”
Reebok has been working with musicians Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams over the last few years, but this is its largest effort to date.
Que Gaskins, Reebok’s vice president of global marketing for lifestyle and entertainment, said, “Our goal is to speak to youth in a relevant and authentic way, and not everyone in music can sell fashion, but all of our partners tonight can sell fashion.”
TUMI TRIES SPORTSWEAR: Travel accessories maker Tumi has paired with Umbro to develop a selection of men’s activewear looks for fall. A women’s collection is set to bow in spring 2007.
“The culture of business travel is changing,” said Laurence Franklin, Tumi’s chief executive officer. “People want to work out while they are away and there are a lot of people who use spas and health services now. Our idea is to blend great fashion with high-performance technology to make the ultimate workout gear.”
While Tumi has had outerwear items, this is its first venture into sportswear. The capsule collection comprises eight looks, including jersey tops, pants and shorts, all of which have performance properties such as wicking and moisture management. There are also a few bags, including a duffel and an expandable backpack.
Umbro is handling the product development, and Tumi is overseeing marketing and sales. The collection will be sold primarily at Tumi’s stores, Franklin said. Wholesale prices for the line range from about $40 for the jersey to $120 for the duffel. Franklin declined to give a sales projection. The luggage and accessories firm has been expanding rapidly and is opening stores in the U.S. and abroad. It has 58 company-owned locations.
UNDER ARMOUR EXEC SHIFT: Under Armour announced some key shifts in its executive ranks on Wednesday.
Scott Gilbertson has left as senior vice president of merchandising and Mark Mackay stepped down as vice president of international sales. Some of Gilbertson’s responsibilities have been picked up by William Kraus, who was promoted to senior vice president of marketing from vice president of sports marketing for team sales and licensing. He will oversee product creation and merchandising functions, and will also oversee the brand marketing organization and the sports marketing team, the company said.
Wayne Marino has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer from senior vice president and cfo. The company said Richard Zielinski has joined as vice president, technical services. He will oversee fabric and product development, and quality assurances. Zielinski was most recently a divisional vice president at May Merchandising Corp. Tony O’Neill has also come on board as sales director, Europe, taking over some of Mackay’s duties. O’Neill was most recently head of sales in Europe for Adidas Golf.