Le Tigre Signs Global Brands Group as Sportswear Licensee

NEW YORK — Infinity Group has big plans for its Le Tigre label and it has signed Global Brands Group to help it achieve its goals.

Infinity is a brand management firm that operates in the same way as Authentic Brands Group and Marquee Brands by finding licensing partners for the brands that it owns. Infinity purchased the intellectual property of Le Tigre from Kenneth Cole Productions for an undisclosed amount in a private asset sale at the end of 2015. 

Since then the brand, which was founded by Campus Sportswear in 1977 and is best known for its leaping tiger logo, has reentered the market with two licensees: Reason Apparel for a men’s collection and Streetwear for women’s wear. The newly inked deal with GBG is expected to significantly expand the label’s reach both here and abroad, according to Ike Franco, cofounder and managing partner of Infinity.

In an interview at his Garment Industry office, Franco said the deal with the Hong Kong-based GBG includes men’s, women’s and children’s sportswear and footwear with distribution in North America, the U.K., Europe, China and South Korea. The first product will be available for spring 2021 and there will be three main collections a year, along with monthly drops to keep the assortment fresh.

“Le Tigre represents a lifestyle inspired by retro and colorful design, and the brand resonates with a modern individual who has a carefree style,” Franco said. “Global Brands Group’s distribution and design expertise will help Le Tigre reach its full potential as a top global heritage brand.”

The product available in the market at such retailers as Nordstrom, Macy’s, Footaction, Jimmy Jazz and others is more skewed toward streetwear, he said. The GBG-produced collection will consist primarily of core basics such as knitwear and denim, or what Franco refers to as “the meat-and-potatoes of the business.”

“A heritage brand with bold and playful designs, Le Tigre is a great addition to our strong portfolio as we look to expand our work with leading consumer connected brands,” said Ron Ventricelli, GBG’s president of North America, adding that “there is significant consumer demand for lifestyle brands that prioritize both fashion and function.”

Franco said the main fashion direction for the brand will come from the U.S., but the offering will be tweaked depending upon the individual market. The collection will also include the Co-Op Closet, a unisex collection of updated classics, he said.

In the past two years Le Tigre has expanded its distribution to key department stores as well as around 1,000 boutiques in the U.S. and it generates more than $30 million in sales at retail. But Franco has said he believes it can be a $300 million to $400 million brand within two years.

Looking ahead, Franco hopes to soon sign additional licensees for outerwear and accessories and an e-commerce site is expected to launch within the next 90 days. 

Infinity, which was among the companies bidding for the Roberto Cavalli brand that was eventually sold to Vision Investment Co., is looking at a potential purchase of another Italian brand, Franco said. But no deal is imminent. 

In addition to Le Tigre, Infinity owns The Water Company, which sells “sports water” to all the major American sports leagues, as well as XOXO, Bugle Boy and Altec Lansing, an electronics and speaker brand.

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