The US clothing giant Philips-Van Heusen (PVH) has started negotiations with leading Indian apparel companies to put its global designer brand, Calvin Klein, and premium lifestyle brand IZOD, on domestic shelves through a licensing arrangement.
Informed sources said talks were expected to gain momentum, following the visit of Mr Ken Wise, Philips-Van Heusen's licensing head, to Bangalore almost a fortnight ago. Mr Wise met the two leading apparel marketers here, and it is learnt that he explored the possibility of combining the licensing of IZOD along with Calvin Klein to the potential licensee. While both the Indian companies confirmed their meeting with the Philips Van-Heusen official, they offered no comments on what transpired during the interaction.
Philips-Van Heusen owns or licenses the 10 most successful apparel and footwear brands in the US. This includes Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, IZOD, and G.H. Bass & Co, which are owned, and Arrow, Kenneth Cole, and Geoffrey Beene, which are licensed.
It must be mentioned that the domestic apparel industry has been closely watching the Philips-Van Heusen's plans to bring Calvin Klein to Indian market, especially after Tommy Hilfiger's rather interesting debut into the market earlier this year through an equity deal with Arvind Mills.
The designer brand Calvin Klein enjoys high recall in most Asian markets including India, and Philips-Van Heusen following the acquisition of Calvin Klein Inc in February 2003 has been exploring new business opportunities in the region.
However, the US giant's move to look at India as a market for IZOD could provide an interesting twist as the potential licensees might not be as keen on the brand as they are on Calvin Klein. Last year, Philips-Van Heusen closed a licensing deal for IZOD in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with Hernpal International.
IZOD is a lifestyle-inspired product line, designed to wear in business casual and relaxed sportswear environments.
This segment is fairly well evolved and highly competitive in the domestic apparel market with the presence of leading brands such as Allen Solly and ColorPlus, which straddle different price points in the premium menswear category.
Philips-Van Heusen already has a licensing agreement with Indian major Madura Garments for the Van-Heusen brand in West Asia; while it has ties with the Sanjay Lalbhai-managed Arvind Mills in the sourcing side of the business.