She Can Act and Sing, but Can She Sew?

Despite any objections, Kim doubts most working designers would forgo the option of taking the celebrity route if given the chance, a sentiment echoed by Molly Lunn, an accessories design student at FIT.

"They have the power, might as well take advantage of it. I would."

So what would it take for a talented designer without the name recognition to achieve the same level of individual success as say, Jennifer Lopez? Lots of money, not to mention hard work. But mostly money.

Jones says launching a label is an expensive gamble for even the most gifted designers and the struggling economy doesn't help.

"Until the nation is out of this financial mess, I don't really see a lot of people being able to take that financial risk," said Jones. "And finding backers at this point is slim to none."

The struggling economy will also be a test to the staying power of the celebrity designer brands.

Weir-Baron wonders how consumers with less disposable income will react, asking, "Are they going to be spending as much money on frivolous clothes?"

Ultimately, retailers will follow customer demand, as Macy's did when it stopped carrying Nicky Hilton's line of casual wear because of poor sales.

Even fashion maven Victoria Beckham was recently plagued by rumors that her dVb denim line was on the verge of being dropped by prominent Los Angeles boutiques Fred Segal and Kitson, while rapper 50 Cent's G-Unit line severed ties with its parent company and shut down its offices earlier this year.

While no one is sure how long the trend will last, everyone agrees that the one thing Calvin Klein and Lopez have in common is their right to pursue their interests.

Malaysian-born Teng concluded, "Being an American, I like the spirit of enterprise."

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