Fencepost Productions LLC has inked a licens-ing deal to manufacture and distribute men’s sportswear under the Caribbean Joe brand, which is owned by Brand Matter LLC. The line, which includes knits, wovens, sweaters, casual bottoms and outerwear, will launch at retail this fall in department and specialty stores.

This story first appeared in the May 28, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Previously, Caribbean Joe men’s sportswear was distributed by CJ Apparel Group, which continues to produce the women’s and kids’ collections for the moderate brand. However, Brand Matter is seeking new licensees for those businesses as well, and has been in discussions with a number of potential partners, including Rousso Apparel Group Inc., as reported.

Brand Matter and CJ Apparel Group are affiliated companies both owned by an investment group led by Windsong Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital. The aim of the investment group is to wind down its Fashionology Group operating division, which includes CJ Apparel Group and Ellen Tracy Ltd., and remain in business solely as a licensing and brand management firm, via Brand Matter’s Caribbean Joe and Ellen Tracy intellectual properties.

Caribbean Joe is a $100 million wholesale business, according to Rick Platt, president of Brand Matter. Men’s wear comprises about 10 percent of sales, children’s is about 20 percent and the remainder is women’s wear. There are 11 Caribbean Joe licensees for various categories, including recently signed footwear and jewelry deals.

“We think there’s a big opportunity to grow the men’s business and we wanted to partner with a men’s specialist for this license,” said Platt.

Kansas City-based Fencepost Productions already owns and operates several competing island-lifestyle men’s brands, including Joe Marlin and Calypso Joe, sold in specialty chains and sporting goods shops including Stein Mart and Bass Pro.

“Caribbean Joe has a tier of distribution that we really don’t have, such as Boscov’s, Bealls and Peebles,” said Doug Marchisello, president of Fencepost.

The Caribbean Joe men’s product is priced to retail at $24.99 to $39.99.

The license deal includes several smaller brands owned by Brand Matter, including Jamaica Bay, Havana Jack’s Café, CJ Breeze and La Cabana, which have distribution in stores like Kohl’s and J.C. Penney.