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Adding Another Spin: Kritik Updates Sweatsuits (Again)

Eisbar co-founder Bobby Benveniste, and his three partners, including Lizzie Grubman's former business partner Jonathan Cheban, aren't reinventing the...

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"Rather than present huge collections, we want to focus on what we do best," said Benveniste, a former attorney. "[Eisbar] was my fashion school. I now really know what to do with design, production, shipping and how to deal with factors. I know how to protect the company now."

The partners also bring an element of the unconventional to their fashion enterprise. Cheban, the company's vice president and creative director who ran a T-shirt line called Clarendon for three years, operates out of New York and Benveniste from Los Angeles. The two, who originally met through a mutual friend, travel back and forth to work on the line.

In terms of marketing, they're borrowing a page from Grubman's flashy publicity manual. Kritik's actual big kick-off took place in Miami (where none of the partners is based) in December 2006, about four months prior to its first shipping date. The bash drew more than 700 people ­— including Jessica Alba, Matt Damon and Hilary Duff — to the chichi Casa Casuarina, Versace's former manse now turned into a members-only club.

"There's a lot of competition out there, so we wanted to get our name out there early and in a place where we could stand out," said Cheban, who's still in touch with Grubman. "And during the holidays, celebrities are looking for big events to attend so all the stars were in alignment."

Both Cheban and Benveniste are hopeful the kismet will continue.

"Levi's introduced the jean and now you have companies like Seven [For All Mankind], J Brand and Hudson taking the concept and modernizing it," Benveniste said. "And we're taking the Juicy concept and making it our own."
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