NEW YORK — Eve has a clothes fetish.

At only 20 years old, the Philadelphia native entered the music world in 1999 when she launched her first album, “Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady.” When it quickly hit platinum status, she was dubbed hip-hop’s First Lady. Today, she is poised to be a leader in the urban fashion community with the debut of her junior sportswear line called Fetish.

There are some aggressive plans in the works for Fetish. According to Troy Carter, Eve’s manager and vice president of Fetish Clothing LLC, the first collection will consist of clothing and accessories, but within the next year there will be a full product range to include fragrance, swimwear, eyewear and a high-end boutique line featuring luxury comfortwear such as cashmere sweatsuits, set for a spring 2004 launch.

“Performing is not only about sharing my musical passions, but it’s also about expressing my individuality,” Eve said. “By creating the Fetish fashion line, I’m able to express my creativity and love of fashion, and hopefully inspire others to follow their dreams.”

For the first collection, Eve begins with juniors. Ready for back-to-school retailing, Fetish is licensed to the Los Angeles-based Innovo Group Inc., a multidivision sales and marketing company that designs and distributes apparel and accessories to the retail and private label markets. Innovo works with such brands as Hippie Jeans and Joe’s Jeans, so Eve sees it as a perfect fit for what she wants to do with the Fetish line.

Already set to hit divisions of such Federated Department Stores including Rich’s and Hecht’s, and specialty stores such as Up Against The Wall, Mony and Dr. Jay’s for fall, the debut line consists of urban-inspired activewear, a large amount of denim jeans and jackets, T-shirts, tank tops and outerwear. Broken down into groups, Fetish will introduce a leisure group, an athletic group, a basics group and a fashion group. Fabrics include velour, satin, cotton spandex, stretch poplin, corduroy and denim.

“The target customer is anyone that can enjoy the designs and lifestyles that encompass and embrace the Fetish brand,” said Anthony Ottimo, president of Innovo’s Fetish division. “We cater to all ages and races, whether they reside in an urban or suburban area. We provide our customers with affordable fashion, while also offering a capsule that encompasses Eve’s lifestyle. We envision taking Eve’s fashion sense and translating it into both the men’s and children’s markets down the road.”The wholesale range of the line starts at $10 for a top and runs to $100 for activewear sets and some outerwear. Denim pieces run between $20 and $60. According to Jay Furrow, chief executive officer of Innovo, first-year sales projections are set at $50 million.

When Eve was looking for the name for the line, she originally wanted to call it Bombshell, but was forced to go with something else.

“There were so many legal issues attached to the word Bombshell,” she explained. “I still love that word and would love to use it some way because when I hear it I think of a strong, sexy woman. When I had to choose a different word, I went with Fetish because it’s also sexy and strong.”

Picking the name is by no means where Eve’s job stopped.

“I am completely involved in this,” she stressed. “Nothing gets done without my approval. I am so psychotic about it. Even down to the zipper pull…this is my line. It carries my name. I have to be involved and I have to want to wear it.”

Furrow wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Eve’s involvement is essential,” he said. “The way she sees fashion will be the focus for the brand. From the logo to the designs, the colorways, the quality and advertising, the brand is all about Eve, her vision and taste level.”

She also will wear the line. Eve said she will mix and match it with some of her favorite designer pieces.

“I will wear a Fetish top with my Dolce jeans,” she said. “And I really hope that people will buy my line and do the same thing. I want people who shop for designer clothes to look at my line.”

It seems appropriate for the celebrity-turned-designer to launch a line of clothes this fall. She is the star and executive producer of a new UPN series, “The Opposite Sex,” a romantic comedy where Eve plays Shelly Williams, a 24-year-old fashion designer of a label called Diva Style. She begins taping the series in August and it is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 15.“It’s funny because in this business you really have to draw the line between reality and fiction,” Carter said with a laugh. “But when she’s approving a sketch on set, it’s hard to tell if she’s in character or not.”

But Eve said she doesn’t have a hard time separating reality and fiction. She knows that launching a clothing line is a serious business.

“This is fun for me, I love it,” she said. “It’s hard, but I love it.”

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