Anne Klein will be making its way to China this fall season.
The women’s lifestyle company, owned by brand management firm WHP Global, has inked a 30-year deal with 7GEGE, a Chinese digital fashion retailer that was once the fastest-growing Taobao store on Alibaba. The Anne Klein brand will be distributed across all of 7GEGE’s online retail channels.
Founded in 2009, 7GEGE launched online as its own fashion brand. Now, the company reaches millions of Chinese consumers through a diverse portfolio of e-commerce sites like TheNext, Chuu and Anderson Bell. According to a statement from the company, 7GEGE generates $300 million in annual sales.
Classic American women’s wear brand Anne Klein was founded in 1968, and became a work wear staple through its tailored collections of blouses, dresses, jackets and accessories. A statement from the brand revealed that Anne Klein generates more than $700 million in global retail sales, relying on distribution partnerships with popular brands and retailers like Steve Madden for footwear and handbags, Kasper Group for sportswear, E. Gluck for watches, Herman Kay for outerwear, and more.
“We are looking forward to partnering with 7GEGE as we focus on the expansion of Anne Klein’s reach through both international and digital channels,” Yehuda Shmidman, global chairman and and CEO of WHP Global, said.
Shmidman went on to praise 7GEGE CEO Louise Cao, calling her “a dynamic and successful fashion CEO,” and “the quintessential modern-day Anne Klein.”
After spending time with Cao and her team in 7GEGE’s home office in Hangzhou, Shmidman said WHP was able to “see firsthand that 7GEGE is the perfect partner to reach millions of consumers in one of the fastest-growing global fashion markets.”
WHP Global was founded earlier this year by Shmidman, who is a veteran of fashion firms such as Iconix Brand Group Inc. and Sequential Brands Group. These kinds of firms purchase the intellectual property assets belonging to brands and then manage the growth of these labels through licensing partners for different merchandise categories.
Anne Klein was WHP’s first acquisition in July of this year. The brand was purchased from Premier Brands Group, the new restructured entity that was formerly Nine West Group.
Shmidman believes that while Anne Klein’s footwear and sportswear are focused primarily in the U.S., the brand’s watch distribution (currently spanning 40 countries) could be an area that spurs growth for the brand overall.
In leveraging the brand recognition generated by that business, Anne Klein hopes to expand its apparel and footwear distribution into the overseas market, Shmidman told Sourcing Journal.