Nissan and Marc Ecko forge partnership

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September 1, 2006 Nissan North America has teamed up with lifestyle fashion superstar Marc Ecko to create what’s being billed as a “unique strategic partnership blending the world of fashion and automotive design.” The announcement was made at the MAGIC men's apparel and accessories trade show in Las Vegas and the partnership will allow each brand to retain their individuality while expanding their audience and reach. To celebrate the partnership, Ecko will modify two of Nissan's most popular SUVs - the Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Armada - giving each a hip, new design inspired by his clothing lines. The two one-of-a-kind vehicles will be displayed at events across the country following a special unveiling in October in New York.

The *ecko unltd. Nissan Pathfinder

Bearing in mind *ecko unltd.'s street-smart swagger, the Nissan Pathfinder customized by Marc Ecko takes a vehicle that loves to get a little dirty and gives it an "old school" twist.

-- The exterior: smoothed wheel wells, a modified grill highlighted by the Nissan badge, and a custom black and grey camouflage paint job offset by safety orange detailing.

-- The interior: driver and passenger seats are given a 1960s redesign, with Eames-inspired molded wood backs and seamless black leather; safety orange is once again introduced through a glossy center console and accent molding, while extra touches include a matching wood steering wheel and a hand molded fiberglass subwoofer enclosure.

The Cut & Sew Nissan Armada

Sophisticated yet keeping with Cut & Sew's fashion-forward designs, the Nissan Armada customized by Marc Ecko retains the muscularity of the vehicle's original look, while adding a dose of irreverence and edginess.

-- The exterior: a cream Landau roof, custom moonbaby-inspired hubs, white-wall tires and safety orange side panels.

-- The interior: cream and tan calfskin with heavy contrast stitching on the steering wheel, doors panels and dashboard, a briefcase-inspired glove box and encased subwoofer enclosure with heavy duty straps and buckles; other special features include roadster-style gauges, metal gas and brake pedals, and a wireless communications system.

In addition to the two custom vehicles, Ecko will also create limited edition, co-branded hooded jackets, woven button-downs, t-shirts, leather key chains and other items that will be given away at events and sold online

Nissan’s vice president of marketing, Jan Thompson, said of the Ecko partnership, “His design will bring together two great brands that already have an established relationship with street culture, making it a natural and ideal fit."

"Side by side, these two vehicles share a design heritage, yet each has its own distinct character," said Ecko. "My goal is to take that character to the next level and to express the vehicles' individuality through bold, original design and superior execution."

Proceeds from these sales will benefit Sweat Equity Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that empowers young people to learn professional design and technology skills while working behind the scenes in leading design companies.

The new collaboration is tagged "SHIFT_unltd.," which visually unites the two brands into one partnership.

"SHIFT_ is not just a tagline for Nissan," said Thompson. "Every Nissan employee is tasked to 'shift' the way we work, the way we approach our products and the way we market them. This program exemplifies the premise of SHIFT_."

Following the announcement at MAGIC, there will also be three in-market events in New York, Chicago and Atlanta. In addition to unveiling the customized Nissan vehicles at the New York event, each invite-only affair will feature a Nissan and Marc Ecko fashion show and provide consumers with an urban, red carpet experience.

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