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Hilary's Birthday Treat: Turning 18, Duff Plans On a Lifestyle Empire

As an 18th birthday present to herself, Hilary Duff is forming a lifestyle brand and will market apparel, fragrance and accessories.

To be sure, it is uncertain whether Duff's company will succeed.

Duff conceded that she hired designers because she doesn't have time to sketch and is ignorant of how the designing process works. She said she looked forward to sitting with the designers and sharing her thoughts on colors and fits.

As for the growing crowd of celebrity designers, Duff's attitude is: the more, the merrier. "We all have our own styles going on and different age range and price range," she said. "I think it's cool that people expand into singing, acting, clothes. It's fun. It gets more and more creative."

Considering the recent lackluster sales in the music and movie industries, an increasing number of celebrities might be seeking refuge in the fashion business. In Duff's case, her eponymous sophomore album sold less than half of the 3.8 million units of her debut collection, Metamorphosis.

Nevertheless, it takes more than star power to make it in fashion.

"They all think their star quality is enough to design clothes," said Fraser Ross, owner of Kitson, the Los Angeles boutique that attracts famous shoppers and stocks celebrity lines by Gwen Stefani and Nicky Hilton. Ross said, "I think a few can be multifaceted but not all can."

Answering the criticism that some celebrities don't wear clothes from their own collections, Duff said she will wear her clothes. "Obviously, the younger line I can't fit into," she said, giggling. "There is no point to putting out a fashion line and not wearing it."

Much is riding on Duff's shoulders. "She's a franchise," said IMG's Seideman.

Thorne said Kids Headquarters in New York will take over manufacturing for the U.S. market in 2006 from Toronto's NTD. He said discussion is under way with NTD and other vendors to determine who will handle production for the Canadian market next year.
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