NEW YORK – Faced with growing competition, the Liz Claiborne brand is getting a style makeover.

The better sportswear brand, which represents about 24 percent of the company’s $4.6 billion portfolio, has been facing some major competition on the retail floor in recent seasons. With labels such as Michael Michael Kors, Lauren Ralph Lauren and Nine West demanding more floor space and Nautica and City Unltd. new to the fray, the arena is filling with more fashion-saavy brands.

After months of consumer research, the brand is on target for a more fashionable fall.

The company began by bringing a new creative director, Richard Ostell, on board in March 2005. Coming from a design background working for companies such as Nicole Farhi and partnering in Flyte Ostell, Ostell brings a more style-concious eye to the Liz Claiborne collection. He’s added more value to the garments, including beaded jackets and sequined sweaters. Ostell has also designed a collection of limited edition garments which will only sell in somewhere between 50 and 80 doors.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow’s WWD.

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