Neal Kusnetz
by Stephen Garner
Neal Kusnetz
Neal Kusnetz

Xcel Brands has announced a new exclusive licensing agreement with Stars Design Group to manufacture its menswear collections.

An industry leader with over twenty years of experience in design and global production for apparel brands around the world, Stars Design Group will manage the production of Xcel Brands’ menswear collections for the H Halston and Highline Collective brands, both of which are currently available exclusively at Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Xcel Brands, which is recognized throughout the retail industry for its strong brands, innovative business model, and forward thinking approach that creates truly seamless shopping experiences,” commented Bret Schnitker, president and CEO of Stars Design Group. “We are encouraged by the success that Xcel has achieved to date and the positive impact this particular strategy has had on the bottom line for retail partners.”

Additionally, Xcel Brands has appointed Neal Kusnetz as president of menswear, where he will oversee the licensing and growth of menswear for Xcel. Kusnetz will also serve as president of Stars Design Group’s men’s retail division where he will oversee sales efforts for the company under Xcel’s brands.

Kusnetz will leverage over two decades of experience in fashion and retail to oversee the expansion of menswear at Xcel. Prior to joining Xcel Brands, Kusnetz was partner and senior advisor of The Convergence Lab, a business development, R&D and consultancy think-tank focused on the convergence of technology, media and retail. Earlier, Kusnetz co-founded Robert Graham, the luxury men’s lifestyle and fashion brand, and served as the brand’s president for nearly 15 years.

“We are enthusiastic about the growth of Menswear at Xcel Brands, and are confident in the expertise of both Stars Design Group and Neal Kusnetz to accelerate our success in this category,” commented Robert D’Loren, chairman and CEO of Xcel Brands. “We’re pleased to be working with a cutting-edge manufacturer like Stars Design Group, and we’re confident that Neal’s background in unifying media and retail into singular brand experiences will help drive new solutions for our retail partners.”

“I was drawn to the Xcel Brands and Stars partnership because of its innovative, forward-thinking approach to apparel and retail, which aligned so well with my background,” added Kusnetz. “I’m excited to join a team that’s disrupting the way retail does business, and I’m looking forward to expanding its reach and distribution in menswear.”