NEW YORK, July 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Xcel Brands, Inc. (OTCQB:XELB) has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with KGK Jewellery Manufacturing Limited to take over the wholesale jewelry business under the Judith Ripka brands. This agreement will give KGK the license to manufacture, source, sell and distribute jewelry, including fine jewelry, diamond jewelry, and bridal jewelry, under the Judith Ripka label. Distribution to include luxury retailers, better departments stores as well as specialty fine jewelers worldwide.

Robert D'Loren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Xcel Brands, Inc., said, "I am very excited to partner with KGK Jewellery. This is a powerful alliance for Xcel & KGK with strong growth potential for the wholesale jewelry business under the Judith Ripka brands."

Judith Ripka, Chief Design Officer, Judith Ripka, said, "I am delighted that KGK has been chosen as our licensee for the wholesale jewelry component of Judith Ripka businesses. Having worked with KGK for over 30 years, I have tremendous respect for the Kothari family. They have demonstrated loyalty, courtesy and the best business practices while operating a very successful and vertically integrated business. I am pleased to join forces with a company that is not only one of the largest DeBeers site holders but which also has access to the highest quality colored gem stones. I look forward to designing jewelry which will continue to be made by the best craftsmen, using the finest materials and workmanship that my customers have come to expect."

Mr. Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairman, KGK Group, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Robert D'Loren and Xcel Brands. The partnership will give us the opportunity to combine Judith's distinctive designs with our unrivaled product development and bring exemplary quality product to the marketplace under the Judith Ripka brand.  At KGK, our aim is to make & sell the finest jewelry possible with the best in class manufacturing and the finest, rarest of gemstones. We are currently undergoing a vertical integration, getting closer to consumers with our retail ventures and closer to our supply chain by acquiring mines."

About The Companies

("Xcel") Xcel Brands, Inc. is a leader and innovator in the acquisition, design, licensing, marketing, and retail sales of consumer brands.  Xcel owns and manages the Isaac Mizrahi and Judith Ripka brands, pioneering an omnichannel sales strategy inclusive of interactive media, brick and mortar retail, and e-commerce.  Xcel also owns an interest in, manages and designs the Liz Claiborne New York brand which is sold exclusively through QVC. Headquartered in New York City, Xcel Brands is led by an executive team with significant retailing, licensing, design, and marketing experience, and a proven track record of success in elevating branded consumer products companies. With a team of over 50 designers and social media focused marketing executives, Xcel maintains control of product quality and promotion across all of its licensed product categories and distribution channels.  Xcel differentiates by design.

The Judith Ripka brand was founded in 1977 and is a leading international fine jewelry brand, known for its distinctive and refined designs. Ms. Ripka is the recipient of many accolades including "The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World" and the DeBeers Award for Outstanding Jewelry Design.  As an avid philanthropist, Ms. Ripka was also honored with the prestigious Albert Einstein Spirit of Achievement Award.  Judith Ripka product lines are merchandised through a tiered label strategy and sold by independent jewelers in the U.S. and abroad, as well as online, and on QVC.

The KGK Group, established in 1905 by Kothari family of Jaipur (India), is a global corporation with fully integrated operations in the Gems & Jewellery industry, having presence across 15 countries. A pioneer in the world of precious stones, KGK Group has been sourcing, manufacturing and distributing colored stones, diamonds and jewellery for decades. Completing a 100 years in 2005, KGK today is established in almost every commercial center in the world, coming closer to its customers than ever before. KGK's rough diamonds are directly sourced from the mines in Africa, Russia, Canada & Australia through mining conglomerate like DeBeers, Alrosa & Rio Tinto - ensuring nothing but the finest diamonds on the market. KGK always believes in the foundation of excellence and trust.

Erika Stair
Vice President of Public Relations
Xcel Brands, Inc.