Liberty of London has signed a deal for Italian manufacturer Slowear to produce a Liberty menswear collection under licence.
It is the first licensing deal for Liberty, which is likely to seek further partnerships in the future to expand its international fashion presence.
Liberty chief executive Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye told WWD: “We see this as a new beginning for the Liberty of London brand. We wanted a licensing partner because it would have taken us years to build up the expertise of Slowear, which provides us with the scale, expertise and track record to design, manufacture and distribute men’s fashion globally.”
He said that the company is seeking a similar licensee for a Liberty of London womenswear line but added: “We are in no rush. We want to find the right partner.”
The menswear range will debut for spring 11 and will comprise 200 pieces including shirts, trousers, knitwear and outerwear featuring iconic Liberty prints, modernised by an international design team.
Liberty has produced a line of shorts, scarves and knits in-house since 2005.
Mario Griariotto, chief executive of Slowear, which owns brands including Incotex, Zanone, Montedoro and Glanshirt, said: “The prints won’t be the sole characterising trait of the clothes as the attention is on the Liberty tradition in both taste and research.”
Liberty expects sales in six years to reach a minimum of €30m (£25.8m).
The launch collection will be sold in Liberty’s London flagship and Griariotto expects to sign an additional 200 doors in the US, the UK, Italy and Asia, where he will target Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Liberty is currently in talks with private equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners about a possible £32m sale of the business, which broke into positive EBITDA for the six months to June 30, recording EBITDA of £30,000 against a £2.7m loss in the equivalent period the previous year.