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Liz Claiborne Inc.
Liz Claiborne Inc. designs and markets an extensive range of branded
women's and men's apparel, accessories and fragrance products. Our diverse
portfolio of quality brands - available domestically and internationally
via wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels - consistently meets the widest
range of consumers fashion needs, from classic to contemporary, active to
relaxed and denim to streetwear. Liz Claiborne Inc.'s brands include Axcess,
Bora Bora, C & C California, Claiborne, Concepts by Claiborne, Curve,
Dana Buchman, Elisabeth, Ellen Tracy, Emma James, Enyce, First Issue, Intuitions,
J.H. Collectibles, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Kenzie, Kenziegirl, Laundry
by Shelli Segal, LIZ, Liz & Co., Liz Claiborne, Lucky Brand Jeans, Mac &
Jac, Mambo, Marvella, Mexx, Monet, Monet 2, Prana, Realities, Sigrid Olsen,
Soul, Spark, Stamp 10, Tapemeasure, Tint, Trifari, Villager and Yzza. In
addition, Liz Claiborne Inc. holds the exclusive, long-term license to produce
and sell men's and women's collections of DKNYIn 1976, a relatively unknown
dress designer, her textile veteran husband and two partners established,
Liz Claiborne Inc., a design-driven company that would revolutionize
the fashion industry - from how women dress for work, to where product
is sourced, to how it is sold into and at department stores. With
less than half a million dollars and a clear focus on design, quality
and value, these four partners - Liz Claiborne, Art Ortenberg, Leonard
Boxer and Jerome Chazen - created what is now a nearly $5 billion
Jeans and DKNY Active in the Western Hemisphere. The Company also has the
exclusive license to produce jewelry under the Kenneth Cole New York and
Reaction Kenneth Cole brand names.
Established at a time when women were entering the workforce in
large numbers, Liz Claiborne and her partners saw the opportunity
to provide versatile, fashionable wardrobes that were appropriate
for work, but still conveyed a sense of individuality and femininity.
A working woman herself, Liz understood how liberating it would
be to mix and match separates rather than have to rely on the traditional
dress or gray flannel suit. Thus, out of a small office on 40th
street in Manhattan, Liz Claiborne the brand was born, transforming
the way women dressed and ultimately, how they shopped.
The concept was simple:
Provide the ensemble driven sportswear that had been available for
many years at designer level prices through the likes of Calvin
Klein and Bill Blass, but make it affordable for the working woman.
There was a major stumbling
block, however. Up until this point, department stores were by and
large classification oriented - pants were in one department, skirts
in another and shirts in yet another. To put together a wardrobe
a consumer had to go from department to department and hope that
the colors and pieces would match. Additionally, department store
buyers were classification-focused and were not equipped to buy
merchandise from one brand across product lines.
To overcome this, Liz
Claiborne executives worked with retailers to test the concept of
presenting all of the brand's related sportswear pieces in one department,
streamlining the consumer's shopping experience.
As the Company grew, manufacturing and sourcing capabilities became
more and more important. For the first several years the company
was doing everything it could to keep up with demand and fill orders,
largely using domestic manufacturers. Distribution executives were
nervous wondering how they could possibly ship 50,000 units per
In the mid- 1970s and
into the early 1980s the Company again questioned the norm in the
apparel industry by testing the concept of manufacturing overseas.
Liz Claiborne established a production control office in Hong Kong
by mid-1976. However, as volume and orders increased, issues with
getting the amount of merchandise needed at the right quality and
price levels from the domestic suppliers began to arise, and sourcing
more product overseas looked like the most viable way to address
this issue. Using a poet blouse - one of the hottest selling, yet
hardest to produce items as a test - Liz Claiborne executives contracted
a factory in Taiwan to produce a large quantity. The quality and
price of the garments that arrived in the warehouse blew everyone
away and the rest is history - Liz Claiborne Inc. now sources its
products in more than 40 countries around the world and routinely
ships five million units per week in the U.S. alone.
Reaching New Business
Liz Claiborne Inc. became a large company in a small industry very
quickly and in 1981 went public to much fanfare. In a time when
apparel company IPOs were not well received Liz Claiborne's offering
was highly successful. And this was just the beginning
by 1985 Liz Claiborne Inc. was the first company founded by a woman
to be listed in the Fortune 500.
Of the original founders,
Leonard Boxer retired from the Company in 1985, and in 1989, after
13 years, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg announced their retirement
from active management. Jerry Chazen, the fourth original partner,
became the company's Chairman in 1989. Paul R. Charron joined the
company in 1994 as vice chairman and chief operating officer. One
year later he became president and chief executive officer, and
was elected chairman in 1996. Mr. Charron retired at the end of
2006, after 12 years at Liz Claiborne Inc.
In November 2006, William
L. McComb joined the company as chief executive officer. In January
2007, Board member Kay Koplovitz, principal of Koplovitz & Co.,
a media investment firm and the founder of international cable television
programming company USA Networks, became non-executive Chairman
of the Board.
Now, with a portfolio
of more than 40 brands, Liz Claiborne Inc. creates fashion for everyone
- women and men, girls and boys, apparel and non-apparel, modern
and classic, career and casual. From Main Street to the mall, department
stores to specialty stores, and luxury retailers to discount retailers,
our product reaches consumers wherever and whenever they shop.
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