ABG and ITOCHU announce strategic partnership for Airwalk in Japan
New York, NY – April 15, 2015 – Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG), owner of a global portfolio of iconic fashion, sports, celebrity, and media brands and ITOCHU Corporation, one of Japan’s largest trading houses and an industry leader in brand business in Japan, today announced a partnership to share joint-ownership of the intellectual property rights for global youth lifestyle brand, Airwalk in Japan. This partnership marks a key milestone in the global expansion strategy for Airwalk that was purchased by ABG in July 2014.
“We are focused on building the next generation of Airwalk and will deliver it through this new strategic alliance in Japan. “said Jamie Salter, Chairman and CEO of ABG. “We are excited to join forces with ITOCHU, an industry expert and veteran Airwalk partner for over seventeen years. The partnership solidifies our commitment to driving expansion for Airwalk in Japan and around the globe.”
ABG and ITOCHU’s alliance creates a cohesive foundation for Airwalk and its global businesses. With a focus on accelerating growth in Japan, the plan is to drive a multi-tiered distribution strategy for Airwalk and to diversify product offerings. New licensing partnerships, and innovative branding, design, and marketing will continue to drive local growth and best practices will be applied throughout the globe.
ITOCHU will provide local representation for Airwalk in Japan, collaboratively managing all licensees, distributors and Intellectual Property with ABG which includes over fifty trademarks and domain names . The partnership facilitates brand building at the local level and provides a platform by which the brand can react and cater to the fast-moving Japanese market. ABG will continue to manage all facets of the brand for the rest of the globe.
In Japan the goal is to drive sales and brand awareness by re-energizing Airwalk’s global and regional marketing activities. The marketing strategy will focus on athletes and talent alignment. Airwalk is the official headwear supplier of the Japanese Olympic Snowboarding Team and sponsors Miyabi Onitsuka, Japanese snowboarder who won the slopestyle championship in the women’s event at the Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships in January of this year. Onitsuka will be integrated into Airwalk’s marketing campaign this fall.
Founded in 1986 in Southern California, Airwalk was one of the first brands on the board sports scene and has been a mainstay for more than 25 years. The company started as a skate specific brand, but is now a global youth lifestyle brand, distributed in more than 100 countries worldwide with items from shoes to gear and apparel.
About ITOCHU Corporation
The history of ITOCHU Corporation dates back to 1858 when the Company’s founder Chubei Itoh commenced linen trading operations. Since then, ITOCHU has evolved and grown over 150 years. With approximately 130 bases in 65 countries, ITOCHU, one of the leading sogo shosha, is engaging in domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, information and communications technology, realty, general products, insurance, logistics services, construction, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas. Having long led the industry as a pioneer in the brand business, which adds brand value to products, ITOCHU has rolled out an array of European and North American brands into Japan and overseas markets centered on Asia. ITOCHU has maintained its position as the industry leader in this business area to the present day by building multilayered business models including importings, licensings, manufacturings, and participating in management.
About Authentic Brands Group, LLC
Authentic Brands Group, in partnership with Leonard Green & Partners, is an intellectual property corporation with a mandate to acquire, manage and build long-term value in prominent consumer brands. Headquartered in New York City, ABG’s mission is to further enhance brand equity through partnering with best-in-class licensees and direct-to-retail partnerships. ABG brands include Marilyn Monroe®, Mini Marilyn™, Muhammad Ali®, Elvis Presley®, Juicy Couture®, Judith Leiber®, Adrienne Vittadini®, Taryn Rose®, Hickey Freeman®, Hart Schaffner Marx®, Palm Beach®, Misook®, Prince®, Spyder®, Airwalk®, Above the Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, Hind®, Ektelon®, Viking®, Bobby Jones®, TapouT®, Sportcraft®. www.abg-nyc.com.