Byline: Elena Romero

NEW YORK — With a bold, no-holds-barred attitude and tantalizing flow, Philadelphia-bred Eve has made her mark on hip-hop with albums such as “Eve: Ruff Ryder’s First Lady” and “Scorpion” topping the urban, pop and rap charts.
With her new clothing line, called Bombshell, the 22-year-old Eve’s future will no longer solely rely on music, as she is poised to make a transition from singing sensation to fashion entrepreneur.
“I never really thought about it growing up,” Eve said. “My focus was always on being a rapper.”
Eve had dreams of being an artist at an early age. She started singing in a group at age 12 and rapping by 13.
“Once I got into high school, I became really obsessed with it,” she said. “When I graduated, I went full-fledged.”
But now that Eve has established herself as an artist, it’s time for her to branch out into fashion, as many singers recently have.
“People started coming to us,” Eve recalled. “We had been looking for a new outlet because it was time to do something different. It seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
That was last year, and Eve said that she wasn’t ready to devote her time, mind and energy to that kind of project. Realizing that the endeavor would require a total commitment on her part, she put the idea of a clothing line on hold. Recently, Eve and her manager put their efforts into it and for several months have been meeting with potential fashion partners.
“We’re actively seeking licensees for the line that include apparel, accessories, fragrance and women’s shoes,” said Troy Carter, Eve’s manager. “We’re looking to fill the void that exists at retail. Existing urban lines have tried to market towards females but none have hit the nail on the head. Bombshell will do just that.”
According to Carter, he’s considering a private label manufactuerer with experience in women’s apparel as a licensing partner. “They understand what we are going after,” he said. “[Bombshell] is a hybrid of high fashion and the streets.”
Eve sees Bombshell as a great opportunity to merge her two loves. “Fashion and music go hand in hand, but they are two different industries,” Eve said. “This year, we got an offer that seems great. It’s now time for me to expand and find a new challenge.”
With this new venture comes the opportunity to prove that female musicians can make it in the fashion world just like the big boys. Up until now, there have been few risk-takers, such as Jennifer Lopez with her J.Lo line.
“Because it [music] is a male-dominated industry and we are mainly around men, it’s hard to have the [courage] to be entrepreneurs. A lot of us are very scared. We find success in one area, which is so hard to get, and we question if we should try to get into anything else. We’ve been comfortable where we are and have been scared to take risks.”
Eve said female artists are put under a microscope and have a bigger chance of getting criticism.
“But that’s life,” she said. “It’s the fear of getting bad press. But we can’t live life in fear. It’s time for us to also grab a hold of the money out there.”
She said she’s ready for it and is confident in her style and ability.
“I always wanted my own light,” she said. “I don’t want it to be compared to such and such.”
For instance, Eve turned blond as a dare.
“I was in high school and someone told me I should bleach my hair,” she recalled. “I did it, I liked it and it was me for the rest of high school and after I got signed. I was blond for seven years.”
With her second album, Eve went through her transition period and went for another striking change.
“I had just turned 21 when it came out,” she said. “I chose to dye my hair pillar-box red, which tied in well with the album name, ‘Scorpion.’ I had it for a year, but I got sick of red. It’s cotton-candy pink now, but I wear a scarf every day. I’m getting ready for my next color — like a warm blond, caramel.”
Eve, who wears a variety of brands, including Miss Sixty, Jill Stuart, Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, Claude Sabbah, Prada, Gucci and Fendi, plans to have a broad apparel mix for her line.
“Bombshell will be me, my style,” she said. “It will have the kind of look that I wear. There are days that I wear a [tank top], jeans, some crazy boots and bag. Then there are days that I feel like getting dressed up and done.”
For Eve, Bombshell focuses on offering young women comfort.
“In the beginning, it will be denim-based, but I would like it to eventually expand to accessories, handbags and intimates,” she said.
Eve is hoping the collection can be ready by this time next year.
“I’m looking to target 14-to-27-year-old women,” Eve said.
She said distribution would be aimed at major department stores, but also at small specialty stores. Eve plans to involve herself in every aspect of the business.
“I will have a say in the fabric, the marketing, promotions and the celebrities who will wear it,” she said.
Antonio Gray, buyer at Changes, a Baltimore-based chain with eight stores, believes there are many opportunities for female musicians, such as Eve, to step into the fashion business.
“There’s space for some female celebrities to take advantage of the same opportunities that the men did,” he said. “Now in women’s, the fashion will have to sustain the line a lot more than the name of the artist. Females will not buy the line because of the name. It definitely has to look good and feel right. In men’s, you can rely on name recognition for sales.”
Eve said Bombshell will include looks found in her videos and onstage appearances. However, she said, “I don’t want it totally focused on Eve, the artist. It will focus more on my lifestyle. I will be in the ads, for example, but I plan on using different faces so that it will not be totally about me. I want to establish a name and people to respect my line.”
While the competition from music lines is slim at the current moment, Eve acknowledged that a number of female musicians are shopping deals. Those companies’ successes may lay in the organizational structure.
“Our operation will be set up urban, but with cross-over,” she said. “Think a female Sean John. Puffy’s operation is set up well and is so respectable.”