Celebrities and Their Clothing Lines

As we sit glued to coverage of the numerous award shows, we dream of what it would be like to be dressed to the nines floating down the red carpet. Would we become a multi million dollar star if we wore the Armani dress worn by Jennifer Aniston? Would we marry the hottest hip hop star if we wore the outfit donned by Beyonce? Fashion magazines that once featured supermodels on their covers, now feature actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Gwyneth Paltrow. A celebrity can be seen in the pages of In Touch, In Style or People wearing a brand of jeans and within hours that brand will be the hottest item. Celebrities, banking on the public’s obsession with their style, are launching their own clothing and accessory lines en masse. Those celebs who have a unique style (and even those without) can license their name to product lines and make millions..

Celeb clothing lines can be traced back to its originator – golfer Arnold Palmer. Palmer licensed his name in the 1970s to a line of golf clothing. Actress Jaclyn Smith, of Charlie Angel’s fame, followed suit with a line of women’s clothing for Kmart. Smith’s lower priced line became the number one selling brand for the chain – today more consumers know of Smith as the face behind the clothing than as an actress. The Olsen twins (marketing’s brilliant duo) copied Smith’s strategy and signed with Kmart for their tween clothing line. While the quality of both lines is not high – fashion not meant to last for more than a season – they are moderately priced and trendy.

Hip hop stars jumped on the celebrity clothing line band wagon after Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons founded his Phat Farm line in 1992. Believing that fans wanted to be able to copy the styling of their fave rappers, Roc-A-Fellas Records CEO Damon Dash and mogul Jay Z launched Rocawear in 1999. Sean P Diddy Combs followed suit with his Sean John line which included sweat suits, jerseys, jackets and accessories. P Diddy’s newer line includes the pricier Sean John collection replete with fur, leather and cashmere.

Christy Turlington’s NUALA line for Puma combines the supermodel’s fashion sense with her love for yoga. The pieces are meant for upscale women (priced from 100. and up) who are want to look fashionable as they exerciseâÂ?¦or walk down Santa Monica Boulevard. JLO by Jennifer Lopez is a line that replicates the star’s sense of style with trendy youthful pieces at reasonable prices. With sales of $130 million last year, Lopez has expanded JLO with perfume and swimwear. Her newest brand, Sweetface, is a higher end collection that features bejeweled clothing and fur laden pieces. Rap’s gangsta’ girl Eve launched her own line, Fetish, in 2003 made up of funky t-shirts, jeans and velour sweat suits with a hard urban edge. The star plans on unveiling a new line by end of 2005.

Pop superstar Gwen Stefani has also entered the world of fashion design with her L.A.M.B clothing and accessories line. Named after her favorite words and her beloved dog Meggan, the funky and highly affordable line includes apparel, handbags by Le Sportsac and sneakers made by well known athletic company Royal Elastics. According to an interview for USA Today in November 2004, Stefani professes to be a “slave to her own sense of fashion.” Recently, Stefani debuted her newest L.A.M.B. collection at New York Fashion Week to great reviews. Her unique sense of style has led the press to consider Stefani something of a fashion and design icon – last years $40 million in sales confirm this.

Rap icon Missy Elliott partnered with athletic company Adidas in early 2004 to introduce a funky, urban clothing line for girls and women named Respect ME. Adidas had a similar deal with Run DMC in 1986 when it released a line based upon the clothing worn on stage by the artists. The Respect ME line is inspired by urban street wear and features three distinct styles. SIDEBAR [Missy and Adidas have recently experienced controversy over the line when the Queen of Denmark claimed that the logo (a crown with the letters ‘M.E.’ above) is a copyright infringement of the Queen’s royal monogram. Adidas has countered the claim with a release stating that there was no intent to copy the royal crown but rather that the Respect ME logo represents the fact that Elliott is considered the “queen of hip hop”. In an effort to avoid legal problems, Adidas has agreed to halt sales of the line in Denmark. ] According to an interview done for All HipHop.com, Elliott feels that “these clothes are for everybody. Respect ME is about individuality – about how you freak it in your own way.” The slogan of the line reveals the brands’ purpose “Be sexy, be bold, be positive, and be original.” With the backing of Adidas, Missy has committed to use sales from the line to raise five million for the non profit organization “Break the Cycle” which works to end domestic violence by working with youth. Elliott is clear that Respect ME is all about placing hip hop back on a positive, community oriented path.

Tabloid sweetie Jessica Simpson announced earlier this year that she was launching her Princy clothing line with the Camuto Group. President and founder, Vince Camuto, licensed the Simpson brand for a record $15 million, the largest celebrity fashion advance in history. Camuto stated, “I think Jessica really is America’s sweetheart and I think her fans will grow with her. There is an opportunity to make this the hottest brand out there.” Princy will include denim (from 59 to 99), knit tops (24 to 58) and jackets (69 to 89). Simpson will also hit the stores with her own footwear line in spring 2006.

Teen actress/singer Hilary Duff recently launched the Stuff by Hilary Duff line of clothing and cosmetics for Target and Zellers. The line includes the eighties inspired Rock n’ Roll and the seventies inspired On the Road line. Duff is one of the few stars who actively sketch her designs.

Other celebs with lines include:
Fetish by rapper and actress Eve, G-Unit by rapper 50 Cent, William Rast by Justin Timberlake,
Mblem by Mandy Moore, B-Rude by Boy George of Culture Club, Apple Bottoms by Nelly and Stiletto Killers by Kelly Osbourne.

It seems as though every celebrity wants their own line, seeing their fans dressed as mini me’s serves as the greatest ego booster. Celebrities have huge exposure which makes it easier to sell a line – one can cross promote (i.e. Gwen Stefani’s new album bears the same name as her line, L.A.M.B.) and can have celebrity continuously photographed in their lines. It’s important to note that not all celebs have successful lines. According to the NPD Marketing Group most celeb lines only last for two years. An example of this is the Shady Ltd. line by Eminem launched in 2003 to mediocre sales and now on “hiatus.”
Fashion has become all about the celebrity – what they are wearing, what they are licensing their names to. Fans everywhere walk the red carpets in their bedroom decked out in JLo and Sean John. Celebrities have become the trend makers of the 21st century.

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