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Dan River Takes on Ebony, Phat Licenses

Dan River will soon be distributing two licensed collections inspired by two highly successful African-American creative sources: Ebony magazine and Phat Farm.

Ebony has been the leading black lifestyle publication for 60 years. The Dan River license to produce an Ebony Home brand in bed and bath is Johnson Publishing Company's first merchandising effort.

While both parties are still finalizing design boards, Dan River hopes to show print and woven bedding during the upcoming New York Home Textiles Market in August, according to Susan Meek, Dan River vp of licensing and marketing. Orders will be ready to ship four months after placement, with a target retail debut of spring 2007.

“Right now we're looking at four beds in a modern collection, four in traditional, and four in a luxury collection,” Meek said. Ebony Classic, featuring modern and luxury looks, is positioned for mid-tier, department and specialty stores. Ebony at Home aims for the mass market.

The target customer is 21- to 45-years-old, “fashionable but not trendy,” Meek said.

While Ebony Home will build on the publisher's long expertise in marketing to various demographic segments of the African-American market, Ebony's licensing division said it plans to develop products that appeal to a broader cross section of Americans.

Phat Fashions, a division of apparel producer Kellwood, is working with Dan River to ship to specialty retailers the first bedding, bath furnishings, and window treatments under the Phat Farm and Baby Phat brands.

The interpretations of the upscale hip-hop company founded by Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons provide a balance of sensibilities. Phat Farm is a masculine, luxury-casual, preppie-flip look, while Baby Phat embodies Asian influences in a trend-forward blend of exotic prints and details, rich textures and deep colors.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Phat Fashions design team,” said Daniel Hammer, president, sales and marketing, Dan River Home Fashion.

Kellwood, a $2 billion supplier concentrated in apparel categories, acquired Phat Fashions in February 2004.

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