Jonathan Cheban cannot stop gushing about a seafoam green polo shirt, the latest addition to his fledgling clothing label, Clarendon. "Isn't it so cute?" he coos. "I'm so excited!"
As a New York City publicist who runs a PR powerhouse firm with Lizzie Grubman, Cheban, 32, is no stranger to spin. But the hype isn't all hyperbole. Covered with bright, eye-popping graphics designed by Daniel Payne, Clarendon tees—starting at $45—are a wardrobe staple among young glitterati like Nicole Richie
("I own like 30 shirts"), Fergie
of the Black Eyed Peas ("I'm addicted") and Jessica Simpson
who donned the Clarendon logo on an episode of MTV's Newly-weds last year. After the show aired, "we started getting thousands of calls and stores sold out," says Cheban, a New Jersey native who launched the brand in '03 because "I saw a void in the high-end T-shirt market." But "we're not just a fad," says Cheban, who will introduce outerwear this fall. "We want to be a company that has legs. Not something that's so last season."