Fashion Rocks

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Today's iconic pop stars and socialites are influencing the fashion scene by bringing the style of their celebrity worlds to market.

Many of today's iconic pop stars took center stage at the recent MAGIC Marketplace, held August 29 to September 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong, singer and actress Kelly Osbourne, and pop icon Gwen Stefani, among others (such as Beyoncé) launched clothing lines (via licensing, of course) that represent their distinctive styles. Beyond these celebrity-based launches, MAGIC provided a preview of trends and brands to watch for fall and beyond.

Punk rocker Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day fame teamed up with Rock Steady Clothing Company for an edgy apparel line that targets the alternative/punk scene. Named after his record label, Adeline, the line of men's and women's apparel and accessories will feature button-ups, Ts, fitted jackets, and tapered pants for men, and woven Ts, hoodies, dresses, and button-up tops for women. Beanies, cadet hats, and ties also will top off the mix. Armstrong will promote the Adeline brand by wearing pieces from the collection during TV appearances, photo shoots, and while on tour. Available in November at boutiques nationwide and in December at Hot Topic, suggested retails will range from $20 to $60.

Pop icon Gwen Stefani tunes into the fashion scene with the debut of her Harajuku Lovers brand, a line of fashion tops, Ts, hoodies, intimates, and baby products inspired by the buzzing street scene of Tokyo's Harajuku shopping district. The line, under license by Jerry Leigh, captures the lyrics and iconography from Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album and cover art. The clothing launch supports Stefani's second solo album, Harajuku Lovers, and her North American tour, which kicked off this fall. Says Stefani, "Every time I put out a single it inspires me to make a visual, so there are themes throughout the record. Those themes have rolled into the videos and now are rolling into the design of the Harajuku Lovers line." The collection is available now at Big Drop and Fred Segal; suggested retails range from $45 to $100. The baby line will be available at Kitson Kids for holiday 2005; suggested retails range from $17 to $26.

Kelly Osbourne and Ali Barone's Stiletto Killers line flaunts girlie glam looks that bring fun and flirty style to classic pieces. Holiday 2005 features playful, sexy items in the loungewear and dress categories. Audrey Hepburn's timeless appeal is reflected in the collection, which debuts 1950s-inspired cocktail dresses adorned with flirty ribbons and bows, a pencil skirt, and a cashmere wool-blended double-breasted jacket. Silk, chiffon, and fine thick linens are part of the mix. Available at Hot Topic, suggested retails range from $27 to $59.

Society girl Nicky Hilton schmoozed through MAGIC to promote her Chick by Nicky Hilton apparel collection. Says Hilton, who majored in fashion design at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, "I'm very involved in the direction of the line. I think it's obvious when a celebrity designer isn't involved." Swimwear, fragrance, watches, and intimates are being explored as key areas for expansion.

Character celebrities also were in the mix at MAGIC. As the retro and vintage trend continues to gain momentum, lovable characters such as Warner Bros.' Tweety are gaining entrance to upscale retail doors. Celebrities and fashionistas are snapping up embellished Ts, handbags, and other accessories that boast high price tags. This summer, Tweety landed at Kitson and Scoop, both of which ebuted exclusive collections.

Former Warner Bros. artist Marc Lumer, who worked on Superman and Batman Beyond, introduced Lovegirl, a line of accessories that express Lumer's philosophy: "With a little more love, romance, and pretty colors, the world would be a better place." The pop-art-inspired property is based on a comic book tale about Penny Livingston, an otherwise ordinary high school girl who has an uncanny ability to mend broken hearts and spread love. Urban Station is the licensee for watches, bags, clocks, and wallets. The collection is available at mid-tier specialty stores; suggested retails range from $6 to $27.

Nzania Concept Studios debuted novelty apparel collections for its Never Land, Stage 28 By Disney, and Dr. Seuss licenses. Highlights include Dr. Seuss' Do It Yourself paper weave handbag that comes with five sew-on patches (suggested retails, $15 to $18). The Stage 28 By Disney juniors' collection features stylish tanks and tunics embellished with sequins, beads, and character appliqués that dangle from satin ribbons (suggested retail, $24). Flowing poplin peasant skirts feature subtle renderings of Disney's Bambi, Minnie, and Tinker Bell characters, which are placed among busy floral patterns (suggested retail, $38). The line will be available at specialty boutiques and Disneyland resorts and parks.

Publishing also was on tap for new fashion licensing agreements. Primedia Enterprises debuted its Lowrider-branded line of juniors' apparel that is based on the automotive magazine of the same name. The collection targets Hispanic girls ages 12 to 21. Key looks include body-hugging pinstriped pants and Lowrider stretch-denim jeans with specialty washes. Solid twill pants and shorts are offered in a palette of pink, brown, charcoal, khaki, and black. Select products will be available in November with the complete women's line rolling out this spring; suggested retails range from $15 for knit tops to $40 for bottoms. Primedia also stitched an agreement with Ann's Trading for a collection of home textiles and accessories that will include bedding, blankets, rugs and towels, handbags, travel/duffel bags, and backpacks, as well as cell phone cases and check book covers. The line will hit retail in late 2005.

Although 90 percent of Playboy's readers are male, 90 percent of the target for licensed Playboy collections is female. This MAGIC Marketplace, Playboy added premium denim under license to Pimlico. Suggested retails range from $150 to $300. A line of home furnishings (bedding, pillows) and bathroom accessories also launched at MAGIC under the Playboy label.

Ixnay, a division of Ares Sportswear, launched a pinup apparel line by artist Andrew Bawidamann, whose graphics were inspired by the nose art of World War II warplanes. An underground success at comic conventions, tattoo parlors, and the like, Bawidamann's art will land on a collection of Ts, hooded sweatshirts, and work shirts for men and women. The nostalgic yet sometimes politically incorrect designs aim to appeal to a young, hip crowd, and debut this month at Monkeys To Go, Shy Studio, and 8th Street Lab. Suggested retails will range from $20 to $30.

Woolrich and Flyshacker Clothing/T.C. Lyle Inc. partnered to present a complete children's collection of rompers, Ts, shorts, skorts, pants, and dresses that target infants and children ages 2 through 7; other items target ages 8 to 16. Innovation is key to the line, which features foldable onesies that make it easy for parents to change infants while on the move. Its Creature Sweaters are offered in a vibrant palette, and feature lizard, frog, dragonfly, and butterfly icons, which appear throughout the collection. Available now at Cabela's, Dillard's, and Gander Mountain, suggested retails range from $15 to $30.

Fashion designer Norma Kamali and Jacques Moret, Inc., signed an agreement for a contemporary sportswear/lifestyle collection that will be marketed under the Norma Kamali and Everlast brand names. The collection will be available in the spring at better department and specialty stores. The Norma Kamali and Everlast brands both represent Americana and timelessness. Says Kamali, "I am very much at home doing this collection since it is where I left off with the sweats collection in the '80s. This is still one of my favorite collections, and it's lots of fun to design."

Contemporary fashion brand kenzie teamed up with JC Group for the launch of kenzie kids, a girls' collection that targets ages 7 to 16. A line of jeans, capris, shorts, skorts, skirts, jackets, sweaters, Ts, camis, tunics, and dresses will debut in the spring at department and specialty stores and boutiques. Denim, sateen twill, tissue and stretch jersey, woven poplins and voiles, and fleece knits will be key fabrications. Suggested retails will range from $15 to $40.

Dickies is taking a different approach to its brand licensing, by aiming to become a category leader in several professions. First, the company launched a line of medical scrubs, and now it's moving into the restaurant arena with a line of chic, comfortable, and washable chef apparel. Selecta Corp., licensee for the medical scrubs, has taken on the license for "chef wear," as well. Separately, in cooperation with NASCAR, the Dickies 500 will take place November 6 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

OP, since acquired by Warnaco, officially made its move to manufacturing its apparel and swimwear. Currently, Kids Headquarters manufactures all OP kids apparel under license. OP seeks licensees for home furnishings, watches, and other accessories (bags, hats).

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