Keds announced an exclusive licensing agreement with LF USA, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-headquartered multinational Li & Fung Limited, to develop a line of Keds branded apparel for women and men to be sold in retail stores across the U.S. and its territories beginning next year.

“Keds has been a part of this country's wardrobe for nearly 100 years, representing so much more than a sneaker. Keds represents an American style philosophy of simplicity, accessibility and fashion that lends itself really well to being a full lifestyle brand — including apparel,” said Kristin Kohler Burrows, Keds brand president. “We are very excited to partner with the Regatta team at LF USA, a group with an amazing reputation and extensive expertise in designing, sourcing and creating apparel lines for today's consumer. We are thrilled to work with this team to bring the art of what's possible with Keds to the world of sportswear.”

As part of the agreement, LF USA will work with the Keds brand team to create the men's and women's apparel collections and will be responsible for the marketing and sales to retailers across the U.S., initially targeting boutiques and better department stores. The new collections are expected to focus on casual wear designs with an initial limited-edition collection expected for Spring 2012 and more complete lines to follow later in the year.

“An iconic American brand, we are thrilled to partner with Keds to extend its fashion influence beyond footwear,” said Rick Darling, President of LF USA. “Synonymous with casual, everyday style, we see tremendous opportunities to build on the strong heritage and spirit of the Keds brand to bring consumers a new, differentiated apparel collection.”

The news of the Keds brand broadening into the apparel category is another milestone in the Collective Brands' new business model, rooted in a powerful brand portfolio with an expanding range of branded products sold through multiple channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing.