US-based footwear and clothing company Kenneth Cole Productions has inked a partnership with Reliance Brands to make its first step into India.

The two companies today (2 November) said the licensing agreement for retail and wholesale distribution will include the opening of five stores over the next three years and an additional 20 stores over the following five years.

The launch will initially include dual gender retail stores in major cities across India and covers men's and women's footwear, clothing and accessories under the Kenneth Cole and Kenneth Cole Reaction labels.

"We're very excited to join hands with Kenneth Cole Productions, a brand that not only represents an iconic all-American fashion house but also enjoys a world-wide fan following" said Reliance Brands president and CEO Darshan Mehta.

"The brand encapsulates a lifestyle that is chic, urban and is infused with modern style and sensibility that perfectly resonates with the contemporary Indian consumers."

Kenneth Cole Productions said the move is a "great opportunity" as India is "fast becoming a fashion capital of the world."

"India promises substantial growth potential for our brand, the country's economy is growing quickly and development is strong which is why Kenneth and I want to create a presence in India now," explained Kenneth Cole Productions CEO Paul Blum.  

"Our global expansion is directly linked to an increased demand for our product internationally, and we are excited to introduce our brand to the market with a strong partner like Reliance."