NEW YORK — Jennifer Lopez may have been the first celebrity to launch a line of junior sportswear three years ago, but according to Denise Seegal, president and chief executive officer of Sweetface Fashions, which produces the JLo by Jennifer Lopez brand, “the celebrity Pac Man is after us.”

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

More and more entertainers are working their way into the fashion industry, with a new one seeming to arrive each week. Beyoncé Knowles just signed a deal with the New York-based Kids Headquarters for a collection of jeans-driven apparel for the junior customer, which will eventually develop into a full lifestyle brand that will include a higher-end line, children’s apparel and accessories. Lil’ Kim has entered the industry through accessories — she and Jakob the Jeweler have teamed up to launch a limited-edition watch line — and the singer is now eager to launch a full-fledged fashion line as well. Meanwhile, Eve will take her Fetish brand off the market for a season or two to reorganize under its new owner, Marc Ecko Enterprises.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

According to industry sources, there are countless celebrities now seeking deals in the fashion business. Just last week, Christina Aguilera told WWD she is eager to launch her own high-end lingerie line. R&B singer Ashanti has been trying to ink a deal for some time, and so have Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige. Jessica Simpson is another one to keep an eye on.

The star of MTV’s “Newlyweds” and multiplatinum recording star already has co-created a line of edible beauty products called Dessert and has appeared in several endorsement deals for companies ranging from Pizza Hut to Lycra. Simpson has also shown interest in launching a line of dresses with her mother. Late last year, Simpson signed with SNI, a San Francisco-based merchandising and licensing firm, which also represents her for commercial endorsements. The company holds merchandising and marketing rights to more than 125 top music artists and entertainment properties, including Madonna, Britney Spears, The Beatles, the Osbourne family, U2, KISS, Alicia Keys and Shakira.

— Julee Greenberg