Authentic Brands Acquires Four Activewear Brands

by Harry Sheff

AirwalkAuthentic Brands Group has acquired four youth-oriented activewear brands from Payless Holdings: Airwalk, Hind, Vision Street Wear and Above The Rim. The deal was through the acquisition of assets from Payless’s Collective Licensing International, LLC, Lifestyle Brands Corporation and Collective Brands Cooperatief U.A. businesses.

“The Airwalk, Vision, Hind and Above The Rim brands each resonate with the younger customer who is searching for authentic ties to sports culture,” said Authentic Brands president Nick Woodhouse. “We are convinced that there is an incredible opportunity to grow each of these brands and re-connect consumers with them in a powerful way.”

Airwalk, which was founded in 1986 in Carlsbad, Calif., is clearly the gem of the deal. As a part of the deal, Payless Holdings, which also operates the Payless Shoe Source chain, will continue to market and sell Airwalk.

“Airwalk has built a loyal following through shaping and influencing the progression of the action sports community and industry,” said Authentic Brands CEO Jamie Salter. “Airwalk’s history is filled with stories about people pushing innovation, supporting the athletic scene, and taking creative risks, all fueled by a passion for athletes and action sports – this is exactly the kind of attitude and passion that makes Airwalk a great fit for the ABG portfolio.”

Vision Street Wear is the oldest of the brands, founded in 1976. Authentic Brands says it will search for a California-based master licensee for the brand.

Authentic Brands Group owns a growing portfolio of brands that it licenses out, including Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Palm Beach, Prince, Syder, Ektelon and Bobby Jones.