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SPORTSWEAR FIRM LANDS BIG NAMES - AND SUPERMODEL SCHIFFER

SHARE SPORTSWEAR FIRM LANDS BIG NAMES - AND SUPERMODEL SCHIFFER

Score two for Kenar. Within the past week, this trendy but modestly priced sportswear company, which has set itself apart with its use of supermodels in its advertising campaigns, signed the most super model of them all, Claudia Schiffer. And it bought the rights to the Gillian names in bankruptcy court.

The moves illustrate owner Ken Zimmerman's strategy of building his company label while purchasing still-exploitable names that wash up on the financial rocks.He followed this path a few years ago when he bought the rights to the Schrader label when that company ran into trouble. Schrader is now a thriving division of Kenar.

Zimmerman has poured millions of dollars - about $3 million a year - into promoting the Kenar identity in slick magazine advertising campaigns and a Times Square billboard created by Laspata/Decaro. And Schiffer's contract calls for not only her likeness to be on the Kenar billboard but also her name.

So Zimmerman reckoned the $200,000 he paid for the Gillian group of names was a modest sum. Gillian, St. Gillian and A.J. Bari are the most prominent of them.

He plans to introduce the A.J. Bari line first, for spring 1996. "I've spent so much money on Kenar and it's just getting to be recognized," Zimmerman said. "Much of the name recognition groundwork for A.J. Bari has been done already."

- Constance C.R. White