Liz Claiborne Inc.
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Liz Claiborne

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 DKNY 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.

In 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 public company.

Dressing Women for Work
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.

Manufacturing Innovation
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 week.

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 Heights
Apparel Search Fashion Industry b2b Directory for the clothing industryLiz 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.

View a more recent profile at Liz Claiborne Inc.

Liz Claiborne Fashion Designer

Updated  4/10/07

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