NEW YORK — G-III Apparel Group Ltd. has forged a licensing agreement with KMJ Brand Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Bluestar Alliance LLC, to develop women’s sportswear, dresses, suits, activewear and sweaters under the Kensie brand for the U.S. and Canadian markets.

This story first appeared in the November 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Kensie, a contemporary brand distributed in department stores and better specialty stores, was sold by Liz Claiborne Inc. to Bluestar last month as part of a divestiture that included Kensiegirl and Mac & Jac. G-III has also licensed the Mac & Jac and Kensiegirl labels.

G-III expects to begin shipping Kensie sportswear in the first quarter of 2012 and to add the additional categories over time. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer of G-III, said, “We believe this contemporary, sophisticated brand presents a growth opportunity across a number of important categories.”

The three lines — Kensie, Kensiegirl and Mac & Jac — generated approximately $40 million in wholesale volume last year, according to a G-III spokesman.

Eric Karls, president of Kensie, and Lani Karls, creative director, will both join G-III to continue spearheading the brand.

G-III, a manufacturer and distributor of outerwear, dresses, sportswear, women’s suits, handbags and luggage, has built up a stable of licensed brands over the past several years that includes Calvin Klein, Sean John, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, Guess, Jones New York, Jessica Simpson, Vince Camuto, Nine West, Ellen Tracy and Tommy Hilfiger. Its directly owned labels include Andrew Marc, Marc New York, Jessica Howard and Winlit.

Bluestar owns, manages and markets a portfolio of consumer brands which, besides Kensie, Kensiegirl and Mac & Jac, includes Liz Lange Maternity, English Laundry, Hot Kiss, First Kiss, Completely Me and Harvé Benard.

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