25 May 2015

Are celebrity labels good for fashion?

The Issue

Are celebrity labels good for fashion?


Celebrities from the worlds of music, film and reality television have the kind of media reach and marketing might that most fashion designers can only imagine. It’s no wonder that the recent boom in fashion lines bearing celebrity names have customers, retailers and investors transfixed.

Some celebrity lines — like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s The Row and Victoria Beckham’s Victoria Beckham — are built from the ground up by the stars-turned-entrepreneurs that helm them. Most are architected around licensing deals whereby a celebrity lends his or her name to the label, with varying degrees of creative input.

But however they are configured, celebrity lines are most certainly on the rise. In the last year alone, Jessica Simpson’s ten-year-old fashion label hit $1 billion in annual revenue, Rihanna was named creative director of sportwear label Puma and Topshop announced plans to launch an athletic clothing line designed by Beyoncé. Meanwhile, sources say Selfridges has placed its biggest footwear order ever for Kanye West’s Yeezy sneakers, set to go on sale next season.

The formula doesn’t always work, however. For every Olsen or Simpson there is a Lohan, Hilton or Hasselhoff, who have each lent their name to short-lived ventures in which the link between star and product failed to result in an authentic brand with commercial traction. What’s more, the rise of celebrity labels risks drowning out the creativity and talent of professional designers.

Are celebrity labels good for fashion?

Context
Top Comments
Most of the celebrity brands sadden me, they are a cheap easy way to get short term consumer buy in with little long term strategy or potential.
By Justin Rhodes
I have to wonder if they even design their own clothes or just slap their name on them, waiting to cash in.
By Sophia C
Are celebrity lines breaking new ground, which is the definition of fashion to me? No. Are they good for business, which is the definition of good retail to me? Maybe.
By Pam Bernstein

What's your opinion?