PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia--You expect to see scads of sequins at a Hollywood premiere, a Las Vegas-type review, a formal affair. But in the audience at a rap and R&B concert?
You better believe it.
Sporting flashy sequins is the fad of the moment for the young and the hip, who are wearing the shiny discs on casual wear and sportswear. This trend is concentrated in a few East Coast cities for now, Philadelphia, Washington and New York, but expect it to spread as fall music videos emerge, many of which will reportedly feature rap artists with various ensembles adorned with sequins.
The rage was brightly evident at a recent rap and R&B concert VTC where style-setting fans were all a glitter for the traveling Superfest, which featured Ralph Tresvant, Keith Sweat, Pebbles and Digital Underground.
As their favorite acts took to the stage, the sparkling attendees, wearing enough sequins to keep Las Vegas showgirls costumed for years, shimmered in their sequined shirts and pants, shimmied in sequined jackets and dresses, and shook in sequined skirts and hot pants.
During the long delays for set changes, the shiny ones strolled about the venue -- the better to be seen in their sequined baseball caps, sequined shoes, sequined T-shirts and other sequined accessories.
Dressed up or dressed down, sequins are it.
Even men are wearing them.
Concert-goer Jerome Mond, 19, cut a brilliant physique in his blue-violet sheer chiffon shirt studded with blue sequins.
"Sequins makes you stand out," he said.
His neighborhood companions, April Monroe, 19, and Kenneth Hayward, 20, were equally brilliant, Ms. Monroe displaying a white blouse covered with multicolored sequins in an abstract design and Mr. Hayward gleaming in an oversized jacket featuring purple, pink and black sequins stitched in a triangular design.
"This makes you look like a star," said Mr. Hayward, whose ensemble was made by a local designer.
Several designers have tried without much success to make sequined sportswear ensembles. But in a time when youth can turn even farmer's overalls into cutting-edge fashion, the hip-hop set has declared you have to shine to be in.
Sequins, which are stitched onto fabric and usually reserved for evening wear or costumes, are showing up at nightclubs that cater to hip-hoppers, at neighborhood block parties, in city parks and even on the streets in broad daylight.
The demand for sequins started late last year when the craze for hand-painted, airbrushed denim and graffiti T-shirts took off. Back then sequins or studs were used sparingly, as accents.
A few months ago young people began sporting the sequins on casual clothes. Baseball caps were adorned with sequins and denim shorts were dressed up with sequins covering some of the front in the popular chaps style.
As the fad took off, neighborhood tailors and local designers began offering custom sequin outfits.
Youth-oriented stores, always up on the trends, are now selling separates affixed with sequins.
Some Philadelphia stores offer on-site custom sequin designs as well as ready-to-wear sequined outfits. At these retailers, a denim shorts or shirt with sequined trimming goes for about $35 and custom designed sequined motif shirts start at $50. It takes about 20 minutes to add sequins to denim and a day or two for custom designs.