Fashion to the beat

Since the dawn of the music video, devoted fans have tried to copy their favorite performer’s trademark look. Elvis helped popularize bellbottoms, Madonna made lace gloves and bad roots a must-have and Nirvana inspired the ’90s grunge look. Fans used to have to try to assemble an outfit themselves to attain the look of their favorite music artist. Today, however, the artists are lending a fashion-conscious hand.

Clothing lines have taken the music industry by storm, and seemingly everybody who’s anybody has their own designs. Although this rite of passage didn’t seem to catch on until a few years ago, the fashion line has been around in male hip-hop music for some time. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons created Phat Farm back in 1992. The Wu-Tang Clan followed suit soon after with Wu Wear, as did Diddy and his Sean John line. Now, artists such as G-Unit, Sisqo, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and Nelly are lending their names to the fashion world.

However, clothing lines aren’t reserved for the men of hip-hop; some female pop artists are starting to follow the trend. Big names in music such as Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani and Beyonce Knowles have tried their hands at fashion and won. J-Lo has come out with two lines of high-end streetwear fashion called J-Lo and Sweetface. Stefani has her Japanese-inspired L.A.M.B (Love Angel Music Baby) line and Knowles has House of Dereon. Some artists who have lines coming out this fall include Jessica Simpson and Justin Timberlake.

However, major star power isn’t always necessary to have your name on a label. Kelly Osbourne has a line called Stilletto Killers. Boy George and even American Idol host Ryan Seacrest have their own clothing lines.

Hip-hop artists such as Simmons and the Wu-Tang Clan originally started clothing lines for their fans because their specific styles couldn’t be found in stores. After the success of these pioneers, others jumped on board. Diddy’s Sean John line arrived with a vengeance, establishing a new, more glamorous spin on hip-hop’s look. He took the look of the streets to high fashion with expensive suits and fur coats. Again, more artists started adding high-end looks to their collection after Diddy’s success.

The bandwagon boulder continues to roll downhill. Some artists are even coming out with a clothing line before they step into the music scene. How involved are these new artists with their lines? G-Unit’s Olivia contributed lingerie to the clothing line before gaining any real popularity. Established artists such as J-Lo and Stefani have been known to be deeply involved with what goes into their clothing lines.