Wearing la Vida Loca

Latin clothing lines are courting crossover fans in malls everywhere

Latin culture has joined hip-hop as a muse to the major players in fashion. Perry Ellis International announced the launch last month of two Latin-inspired and Latin-targeted women's sportswear lines: Cubavera, to be sold at major department stores, and Havanera Co., a private label to be manufactured for JCPenney. Each is an extension of a successful men's line bearing the same name. "Our Hispanic-focused brands brought in $23 million in revenue in fiscal 2003, and we expect to almost double that for fiscal 2004," says Perry Ellis International's CEO, George Feldenkreis. "At this point, no American company can afford to ignore...

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