Come next summer, club kids will be raving in more ways than one. For starters, there's Jennifer Stein's gender-bending Jender label that should appeal to anyone in club land.
"I definitely get my influence from the creative energy of the youth culture," said Stein whose 2-year-old company is based in Miami's South Beach.
Stein's creations are aglow. They include shimmery--and iridescent--Mylar and nylon shirts for guys and camisoles for women in color combinations of black and blue, and purple and green.
She also has taken some fashion tips from surfers who live in Lycra. At the recent Action Sports Retailers convention in San Diego, Stein's nylon-Lycra turtleneck drew attention as did a lightweight and meshy reversible black and white top and stretchy, shiny velour shirts in bold color blocks. Ditto for her V-neck slit dress in metallic purple, panne dot women's pants and suede tie-dye twill men's trousers in sky blue.
"I call my stuff 'psychosexual streetwear for the tragically hip,' " she said.
Drawing crowd enthusiasm was Custodio Dalmau, owner of Custo Barcelona, whose creations generated buzz on and off the runway. Dalmau said his Japanese animation influenced long-sleeved T-shirts "mixes the influences of the 1950s with the era of techno."
For instance, Dalmau's playful Viva Las Vegas halter shirt combined the idea of Sin City on the front with Japanese writing on the back. Why?
"Because the biggest spenders in Las Vegas are the Japanese. Our philosophy is that T-shirts should have a message and it should be fun," he said.
Triple-striped flared racing pants and stretchy flared denim also garnered interest among buyers.
European lines provided some of the freshest new styles for a trade show that has been looking to take a break from baggier-than-thou streetwear. London's Boxfresh label for men and women, which now has an office in Costa Mesa, is pushing sporty, track-suit inspired looks as well as high-tech metallic tops and neat, racy polos.
Meanwhile, Angelenos and newcomers Anthony Quiroz and partner Alex Sinclair described their first-year line as acid-jazz-inspired lounge wear.
"Our style is strictly from the L.A. streets," Quiroz said about his label, Fivespot. Standouts were a brushed mesh shirt and fleece pants. Long-sleeved T-shirts with the word "Stereochronic" topped with a drawing of a crown, got noticed by many.
New York's Dollhouse women's label is all dressed up and ready to go in skintight pants and slinky print tank tops--"sweet and naughty," says a designer. But what really distinguishes this line is that it's affordable, with no pieces retailing for more than $100.
New York-based Nervous is one of a handful of music companies (Tommy Boy, Moonshine Music) to start a line of club wear. The line involves logo baby-Ts, tank tops and record bags that you don't necessarily have to carry your vinyl in.
Amy Cook of Sticky and Goo--a board wear and streetwear design firm--said music is a huge influence on clothes today, a sentiment shared by many. Her use of reflective piping on jackets and jeans were a natural for clubbers.
Western-styled shirts are done in printed sequins, lounge lizard pants and shirt jackets in perforated tan velvet and velveteen pant suits in cranberry accented with a matching boa are more of Cook's clubwear offerings.
"Touch this," she said, pulling out a shiny club jacket with reflective piping. "It's a NASA kind of fabric," she said. "It's made from ground glass. That's the future, baby."
We have blast off.
Times staff writer D. James Romero contributed to this report.