The former global licensee of Diesel footwear has formally signed a series of special footwear licensing and distribution contracts with Italy’s Sixty Group for its Energie and Killah brands and for the junior part of its Miss Sixty collection, which targets girls below the age of 18. Energie is a creative young fashion brand geared toward boys, while Killah’s sportswear line is aimed at women between the ages of 18 and 25.

Sixty signed the contracts a few weeks ago with International Brand Partners (IBP), a new company 100 percent owned by Killick Datta that he established last November in Santa Barbara, California, after buying out selected assets from Titan Global Holdings. Titan had acquired some assets of Datta’s former GBMI after it went bankrupt following the gradual termination of its former deals with Diesel.

Two brands of GBMI, Nomass and DryshoD, and a license with Jimmy Hendrix, where not taken over by IBP, which is now interested mainly in footwear brands and truly global licenses with a strong potential. IBP has started working with a slim staff of about 25 people, most of whom were previously working with Datta at GBMI.

Sixty Group has already been marketing large and original footwear lines developed in-house under all these brands, but it has been most successful so far with the adult part of the Miss Sixty shoe collection, particularly in Europe.

Datta, a former executive of Nike, L.A. Gear, Skechers and other brands based in California, is providing his support for the development of Sixty Group’s footwear project through his expertise in the development of casual footwear, in Asian sourcing and in distribution in the U.S. and other markets.

The product development part of his contract calls for his team to create new casual and sport-inspired styles, using many of the designers who previously created the Diesel collection. Sixty Group will instead concentrate on dressy and dress-casual styles, mostly made in Italy and Spain. The first fruits of the collaboration will be seen in a new casual line of Energie shoes developed by IBP that will be presented to the trade next July for the Spring/Summer 2010 season. It will be coupled with a new sophisticated Energie Plus line developed by Sixty and made in Europe.

Sixty Group will continue to sell all its footwear lines in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the U.K. and Canada, where it controls the distribution of its various products. After some test-marketing at last August’s WSA show in Las Vegas, IBP has obtained the rights to distribute the Energie, Killah and Miss Sixty Girls shoe collections everywhere else. The company has already enlisted many previous distributors of GBMI and plans to have soon a global sales network with distributors in more than 80 countries. Datta’s contacts with many of his former distributors will come in handy.

Datta’s previous experience with Diesel has taught him how to ramp up the production and the distribution fast without disrupting the business. Unexpected increases in orders have already led IBP and Sixty to enlist new manufacturers in Asia. With orders collected by IBP mainly for next autumn, the company is planning to reach sales of only about $5 million in the U.S. and $10 million elsewhere for the first year, but the outlook for 2010 is very promising.