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Apparel industry sewing star power

Each February and August, 100,000 retailers, manufacturers, designers and guests come to Las Vegas for a huge pow-wow. And increasingly, the apparel industry uses celebrities to dress America.
/ Source: CNBC

Here in Las Vegas, the nation’s convention capital, the “Magic Marketplace” is sort of a fashion industry free-for-all. Each February and August, 100,000 retailers, manufacturers, designers and guests turn out for a huge four-day pow-wow. And increasingly, what you find is the apparel industry using celebrities to dress America.

ACTION MOVIE STAR Jackie Chan is here. But he’s not here to promote a movie, it’s to introduce his new clothing line.

You may already know that Jennifer Lopez, P. Diddy and Christy Turlington have their own apparel lines.

But did you know that Disney star Hilary Duff has one too? Also with their own clothing lines are the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, and even Gwen Stefani, from the group No Doubt?

The fact is, some of the biggest names in the business these days — and we mean the apparel business — come not from inside fashion, but inside entertainment.

At this year’s Magic Marketplace trade show, much of the action — as usual — is around the clothing lines from hip-hop artists.

But it’s not just rappers selling apparel. Before the show began, back in New York, we got an education from a woman named Emme.

She was the first “plus-size” model to sign a deal with Revlon, and as host of the TV show “Fashion Emergency,” Emme enjoys daily exposure to consumers nationwide.

Three years ago, she had an idea and approached one of the industry’s biggest players.

“Sixty-two million women are above a size 12 and I reflected upon my own shopping experience in having many salespeople saying we just don’t have your size here,” Emme said.

And so the Emme collection was born.

“We’re in better department stores,” Emme said, adding that the the average price point is about $100. “A lot of women who are size 14-24 have never, ever had the opportunity to put something on their body and feel confident when they walk into their world.”

Some other entertainment names with their own apparel lines, and this is just a partial list, include

actresses Jaclyn Smith and Jane Seymour; models Kathy Ireland, and Elle MacPherson; music stars Eminem, Jay Z, Damon Dash, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Russell Simmons, Master P, Lil Bow Wow, and Dr. Dre.

“All it takes is a name and a couple of dollars to have a clothing line,” said Marshall Cohen, president of research firm NPD Fashionworld. “Today its really about people trying to find the next hot name or the next hot brand that’s going to afford them the ability to be different than anybody else and to capture your lifestyle interest.

By the way, don’t think it’s just the hip-hop segment of the music industry cashing in. Vocalist Scott Stapp from grunge band “Creed” is out with a new activewear assortment called Screamline. And Nikki Sixx — former bad-boy bassist with Motley Crue — will reportedly make a second stab at a tattooed fashion statement for the e-commerce Web site known as Dragonfly.