Celebrities of all kinds frequently find themselves dabbling in the world of fashion. Whether they are creating their own line of clothing or brand, or collaborating with existing designers, these days there are a lot more celebrity lines on the fashion market than in previous years. Sometimes these lines succeed- for example, Victoria Beckham, former popstar is now known more for her clothing line than for her music career. Similarly, Jessica Simpson is now making over $1 billion a year in revenue from her fashion label, despite beginning her career as a singer. Yet other times, these celebrity fashion lines are a huge failure. There was Sarah Jessica Parker’s ‘Bitten’ and Avril Lavigne’s ‘Abbey Dawn’. Don’t recall those names? Well that is not a surprise as they failed so spectacularly on the fashion front.
As celebrities and Hollywood are so glamorous and always at the forefront of fashion, it can be a surprise when these beautiful and talented people we see in our magazines and on our television screens fail to bring stylish clothing to the market. Some of them simply do not have an eye for fashion- they are dressed by their stylists every day, and so when it come’s to designing their own clothes they have no clue. Others do not put in enough effort. They think that being a designer is a quick and easy as choosing some clothes, and so do not fully immerse themselves in their fashion designer roles. Let’s have a look at some of the best and worst celebrity clothing lines.
THE SUCCESS STORIES
Iconic supermodel Kate Moss has had a huge success with her line of clothing for British retailer Topshop. The collaboration was first launched in 2007. I remember lining up outside the store when the line was first announced, and when I finally got inside the store there was nothing left but a couple of t-shirts and a pair of sunglasses. The Kate Moss for Topshop line was sold in over 20 counties. It increased Topshop sales by 10%. There were uncertainties as to whether the collection we bring such success, due to the controversial drug allegations and charges brought against Moss in 2005 and 2006, during which years many labels dropped her services. However, after having all charges dropped and winning Model of the Year in 2006 at the British Fashion Awards, Kate Moss won the hearts of the world media again.
After a break from Topshop, the second collection was launched in 2014. The 2014 collection was even more successful, with journalists for The Guardian writing: ‘Shoppers lined the pavement outside Topshop on Oxford Street, spilling into the road, much to the bemusement of tourists and the chagrin of stewards dispatched to keep them from getting run over…some of whom had been waiting for over five hours.’ (Swash and Dzimwasha) Topshop has also collaborated with e-retailer Net-a-Porter, and half of their Kate Moss stock sold out only half a day after it was launched. The collection was available in stores in 40 countries worldwide. Kate Moss and Topshop have definitely been a huge success, with owner of Topshop Philip Green stating that Moss is the store’s most successful in-house designer.
As aforementioned, Jessica Simpson’s fashion line generates $1 billion a year in sales. Despite many other designers failing, Simpson has managed to survive and thrive over the past ten years. The label is sold in many stores, such as Macy’s and Lord & Taylor, and has over thirty categories- it even has a homewares categories which can be found in Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Licensing company Sequential Brands has acquired a majority stake in the Simpson clothing line. The new owner wants to grow the brand, hoping to create a $2 billion to $3 billion business with Jessica Simpson’s line. However, Simpson will still be involved, still own her equity and be hands on in the design department. Simpson attributes the success of her brand to understand women and what they want from fashion. Her line appeals to all kinds of women of all ages and sizes. She says:
“I have been every size on the planet, and I understand—I feel like I understand women. I know there’s all different kinds, you know. There’s life and a whole entire world beyond L.A. and New York. And I do understand the Middle America, and their mindset.”
Unlike Jessica Simpson and Kate Moss, Jay-Z has kept his name away from his brand Rocawear. Rocawear is based in New York, and was created in 1999 by Jay-Z and Damon Dash, and annually creates around $700 million. Although Jay-Z sold the rights to Iconix Brand Group in 2007 for $204 million, he retains his stake in the company and still oversees marketing, licensing and product development.
Rocawear has launched a social networking site offering news, fashion and music in 2009, and in 2011 announced it’s partnership with Billionaire Boys Club- the clothing label of Pharrell Williams. Rocawear sells shoes, furs, handbags, belts, lounge clothes, headwear, jewelry, sunglasses and children’s clothes.
Stefani, lead vocalist of No Doubt and solo artist, founded the fashion label L.A.M.B – Love Angel Music Baby- in 2003. The runway debut was in the spring of 2004, and it achieved great success at New York Fashion Week in 2005. The line consists of clothing, shoes, watches, bags and a fragrance. Stefani has been influenced by many different cultures- such as Japanese, Indian and Jamaican- in her music, and these influences shine through in her fashion range.
Stefani’s fashion range has been well received by critics, and she has been praised for taking her role within the fashion industry seriously whilst maintaining her status and career as a celebrity. Fern Mallis has been quoted as saying “the L.A.M.B. line is clearly at the top of these lines and is as unique and individual as Gwen herself.”
The brand is sold in 275 stores worldwide, and has appeared in magazines such as Marie Claire, W and Elle. Currently is making a gross annual income of over $90 million.
Lindsay Lohan has had many meltdowns over the years, but her collaboration with fashion label Ungaro was the biggest disaster of all. Emmanuel Ungaro- the French fashion house- hired Lindsay Lohan to act as ‘artistic adviser’ when the troubled star was 23 years old. The collaboration consisted of garments such as neon leggings and nipple pasties. The collection was so bad that the CEO of Ungaro, the man who actually hired Lohan, resigned only a few weeks after Lohan came on board.
Heidi Montag, the celebrity who found fame on reality show ‘The Hills’, started her own fashion line in 2008 (at the same time as having a complete makeover with countless plastic surgeries). The fashion line did not gain much attention, however it did grab the attention of the Fug Girls of Cosmopolitan magazine. They described the line as being: “Flimsy, panty-line-molesting dresses at nearly 40 bucks? Sure, that’s a steal compared to Marc Jacobs, but not far enough removed from what you’d pay at the Gap for something that’s at least 100 percent cotton and unlikely to give you a rash.”
Kanye has been trying to be a fashion designer for many years, yet has never quite made it there. He is a great businessman, and has managed to change Kim Kardashian’s look drastically to great effect, yet a designer, he is not. Although West has influence and style, he has not yet managed to succeed as a designer.
West has been trying to become a designer for over ten years. He has had collaboration with many companies, including Nike and Louis Vuitton, and also interned at fashion house Fendi. West first debuted his on eponymous collection of womenswear in 2011 at Paris Fashion Week, and the reviews were not great. Fashion critic Cathy Horyn says: “What Mr. West needs is a tailor so the clothes will fit.”
Kanye also debuted at New York Fashion Week this year, for his collaboration with Adidas. While it was more well received, it still did not quite hit the mark. Critics say that was a good effort, but there was not much energy or life coming from his designs. West’s failures in the fashion design world have been attributed to his attitude. He is known as being cocky, and this shows in his designs. West focuses on showmanship and display rather than the actual designs- having Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna and Diddy sitting the front row at his show, and Kylie and Kendall Jenner modeling his designs. However, to be taken seriously, he needs to put the effort into his designs and take that side of the business seriously.