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UF&D has designs on deal with Chereskin

New lineup to begin shipping by spring 2003

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, May 13, 2002

United Feather & Down will broaden its product mix through a new licensing agreement with men's apparel designer Ron Chereskin.

An assortment of down and down alternative blankets, comforters and mattress pads, as well as two new product extensions for UF&D — throws and decorative pillows — will make up the new collection. The upcoming line may be previewed during the 2002 October market and is scheduled to be shipped by spring 2003.

"I am excited because [UF&D] makes an incredible product," Chereskin told Home Textiles Today about his latest venture into the world of home textiles. "It's very updated and stylish, and I'll be doing all the designing and working with their technical team." Chereskin, who is based in New York, also recently signed an agreement with Britannica Home Fashions for a fashion top-of-bed line.

Brandon Palmer, executive vp, UF&D, said the company was excited to be working with Chereskin. According to Palmer, the talks with the apparel designer encompassed several months as the two sides discussed the designer's vision for developing his home business and how that would fit into the types of products manufactured by UF&D.

"Ron has a definite look, style and flair and a place in the market today," Palmer said. "What we want to do is bring quality, taste and design at a value to our customers."

Jacquards, embroideries and prints are all planned as part of the collection.

Staying true to the style of his apparel line, Chereskin said plenty of texture will be included in a palette that will encompass muted pastels that are "not bright and not candy." He added that the down/down alternative line will coordinate with the Britannica collection so "we can bring a total look to the retailer."

"This is an opportunity to work with a designer who's doing more than just putting his name on products," Palmer said, adding that Chereskin will also be heavily involved in the selection of the fabrics.

Although UF&D currently manufactures and markets a Joseph Abboud line of down and down alternative products, Palmer said the two licensed lines will not conflict with each other since each is aimed at different levels of the department store channel. Abboud will continue to occupy the "top shelf" and the Chereskin line will be more "value conscious" and target "mainstream consumers." Following that, the introduction of the license affords UF&D the opportunity to do get its foot in the door with retailers with which it had not previously done business. Since the collection will include decorative pillows and throws, it is also an opportunity for UF&D to gain entry into new areas of the home textiles business.

"We've always tried to be progressive in our thinking," Palmer said. "We try to step out of what's always thought of as utility bedding and provide our customers with new and fresh ideas."

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