Keds Launching Sportswear for Spring 2012

Gucci Fall 2011 collection

Photo: PR Newswire

From head to toe: Keds is launching sportswear.

It took almost a century, but Keds is finally branching out into clothes. Better late than never?

The classic soft-shoe sneaker brand has signed an exclusive licensing deal with Li & Fung's LF USA subsidiary to launch a sportswear collection for men and women.

Set to début in Spring 2012, the apparel range—which will be sold in boutiques and fine department stores—will kick off with a limited-edition casual collection followed by more complete lines later in the year.

"Keds has been a part of this country's wardrobe for nearly 100 years, representing so much more than a sneaker," Kristin Kohler Burrows, Keds brand president, said in a statement.

"Keds represents an American style philosophy of simplicity, accessibility and fashion that lends itself really well to being a full lifestyle brand—including apparel. We are very excited to partner with the Regatta team at LF USA, a group with an amazing reputation and extensive expertise in designing, sourcing and creating apparel lines for today's consumer. We are thrilled to work with this team to bring the art of what's possible with Keds to the world of sportswear."

Launched in 1916, Keds has collaborated with designers such as Alice + Olivia, Steven Alan, and Opening Ceremony. Hopefully that good taste translates to some covetable casual wear!