A Hip-Hop Flip-Flop: Eve Switches Licensees, Signs With Marc Ecko

Eve’s Fetish has changed licensees, switching from Los Angeles-based Innovo Group in favor of New York’s Ecko Unlimited.

Marc Ecko and Eve on Friday in Los Angeles

Marc Ecko and Eve on Friday in Los Angeles.

Photo By WWD Staff

NEW YORK — Eve’s Fetish has a new partner — and it’s none other than hip-hop entrepreneur Marc Ecko.

The rapper-turned-designer has signed a licensing deal with the $350 million Marc Ecko Enterprises after becoming unhappy with her previous licensee, Innovo Group Inc. Innovo had launched the Fetish line at retail last fall.

Ironically, the deal with Eve comes only two weeks after Ecko Unlimited was said to be near an agreement with Beyoncé. Those talks broke down over financial terms of a license, sources close to the singer and her mother, Tina Knowles, said. The Knowleses last week signed a licensing deal with New York-based Kids Headquarters to launch a series of fashion collections.

“Signing with Ecko [Unltd.], for me, it’s a no-brainer,” Eve said in an exclusive interview with WWD on Friday. “They know quality, they are young and hip and Marc [Ecko] gets it. They are going to give us what we need for longevity, they are going to give it the quality and attention it needs. That’s always what I’ve wanted for my brand.”

While Eve said she couldn’t divulge all the details of the split with Innovo because of legal issues, she said her time with the company “was a learning experience and I’m happy we caught the problems while it’s still in its first year.”

Executives at Innovo Group could not be reached for comment.

Under the aegis of Marc Ecko Enterprises, the new collection of women’s sportswear, headwear, footwear and luggage will debut for fall 2005 retailing. Eve said it is too early to describe the new Fetish collection, but said it would be “more designed and better quality.”

“We foresee many synergies between Marc Ecko Enterprises and Eve as a brand and think she’s got an amazing fashion approach and vision, which will be reflected in the new Fetish line,” Marc Ecko said in a statement. “In the next few weeks, we’ll be putting the right team in place to make it happen.”

Fetish will be housed in Marc Ecko Enterprises’ expanded space on 23rd Street here and, according to Anthony Ottimo, division president of Fetish, he and designer Peter Lee and vice president of marketing Dana Hill also will leave Innovo to run the Fetish brand under the Marc Ecko Enterprises umbrella.
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