“Kustom kulture” brand Von Dutch Originals (www.vondutch.com) has signed a deal with FITRA International FZE to expand its vast global distribution into the Middle East.

The two companies will work together to make Von Dutch one of leading brands in the region by expanding and developing its existing business there. As part of the expansion strategy, Von Dutch plans to open at least eight flagships in the Middle East over the next two years. The first store will bow in Dubai later in 2005.

At present, in addition to North America, Von Dutch is distributed in Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and most of Europe. It operates freestanding stores in the USA, Mexico City, Bangkok, Paris, Rome, and its newest one, on Via della Spiga in Milan. The brand also plans to open the first of five Japanese retail stores in Tokyo in August.

Its new Middle East distributor, FITRA International FZE, is a member of the Chalhoub Group – the leading luxury brands distributor and representative in the Middle East in fragrances and clothing. Chakhoub’s portfolio includes fashion labels Polo Ralph Lauren, Polo Jeans Co, Lacoste, Marlboro Classics and Geox as well as numerous perfume brands, including Roberto Cavalli and Smalto.