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Savane Talks to Shops in West

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Men's apparel maker Savane International has been holding discussions with agencies in the West for marketing projects that could be worth as much as $10 million in total, sources said.

Savane, based in El Paso, Texas, is expanding product lines and appears to be bolstering longtime roster shops McGarrah/Jessee in Austin, Texas, and SWG&M in El Paso.

The company is expected to make a decision about assignments by late summer, said sources. It was unknown which shops had been contacted.

Meantime, Savane is preparing the fall launch of a line of Swiss Army clothing, with a big consumer branding push by McGarrah due in the spring, said agency officials.

Agency officials said they have had no discussions with the client about the account moving.

Savane's director of marketing, Alexia Vasilakis, said the company calls on its two roster shops for ad and collateral work but assigns special projects to outside vendors. She said the account is not up for review.

"We are not making any changes in the relationships with our two agencies," she said. She declined to discuss what project assignments are in the works.

Michael Mitchell, Savane president, oversees agency assignments. He was unavailable for comment.

The Savane brand of men's dress and khaki pants is sold in stores such as Macy's, May Department Stores, Dillards and Saks. Key rivals are Dockers and Haggar. The ad budget for the brand was $1-2 million in 1999 and 2000, per CMR.

Savane also markets the Farah men's pants and licensed apparel brands such as Bill Blass, John Henry, Van Heusen and Swiss Army.

McGarrah, a small, creatively oriented shop, handles consumer branding print ads for the various Savane brands and shares trade and collateral duties with SWG&M.

Savane's owner, Tropical Sportswear International in Tampa, Fla., has been on an expansion track lately. In addition to the Swiss Army launch, it acquired clothier DuckHead this month.