There are a handful of celebrities that have broken the mold in the fashion world. Victoria Beckham, the Olsen twins & Gwen Stefani have done due diligence to legitimize their presence in the fashion game. These women have taken a hand on approach towards all aspects of developing their collections. Mrs. Beckham is known to conceptualize and tailor her own pieces while, the Olsen sisters are presently involved in various mediums of product development. Gwen Stefani has taken her interest in culture and created an innovative composition of clothing inspired by Indian, Japanese & Jamaican culture.
I can understand the need for celebrities to maximize their brand value due to the average shelf life of entertainment careers, but how does this desire for profit over innate passion translate to the real fashion designers? I can tell you that many people who have attended some of the most prestigious design schools in the world, cringe with annoyance. There is tremendous frustration as they have made sacrifices, invested time and resources to build a career for themselves. They feel as though they are being edged out of the market due to a lack of financial investment and recognition. Personally, I can relate to their frustrations. On average, fashion students are paying anywhere between $35,000 to $100,000 for a four-year fashion degree. A percentage of that money supports their efforts to study abroad in one of the major fashion capitals like Paris, Milan or London to reinforce their knowledge of the industry by exposure to different markets. The decision to study in overseas is beneficial, but costly. Hence, the reason that it is difficult for true fashion professionals, some with mounting student loan debts and a string of unpaid internships, to reconcile the fact that their opportunities and passion are mocked by celebrity clothing lines. Unfortunately, several unknown designers will endorse these opportunities with the hopes of having creative freedom in the future to develop their own signature collections while others are content with being ghost designers due to the skewed market.
How are these clothing lines developed you might ask? The managers & PR representatives connect with unknown designers, who will meet with these celebrities in their homes and review their closets. We know that most of the items in their wardrobes are from high-end designers. Next, the design team creates a line that essentially "knocks off" the designer pieces with minor changes. For instance, they might add a different button or make a slight tweak to the neckline. Many of these collections will then be sold on a series of cable shopping channels. In addition to their faux designer titles, the lack of quality is a serious issue. For example, the "Kardashian Kollection" is notorious for its poor quality, lackluster fabrics and ridiculous price points. Hence, one of the reasons that the line has not been successful. It is truly an insult to those who value quality.
While I respect the desire of celebrities to translate a vision, a fashion designer that does not make. We can argue that world-renowned designers such as Ralph Lauren do not design their collections. However, what people fail to realize is that they have paid their dues in fashion by doing all the grunt work to make their names known. Upon reaching the pinnacle of success, top fashion designers are forced professionally to look at new opportunities to expand their empires. Therefore, it is almost impossible to focus solely on design.
We can agree that with clothing, a lot of things created in our era are a revival of old styles with a modern twist but, fashion is not about reinventing the wheel, it is about revamping it with your own vision. Overall, most celebrity clothing lines lack what true fashion designers have; vision, talent & passion for what they do. History has shown us that these clothing lines rarely succeed. The primary reason for these failures is that celebrities miss the mark. They do not understand the industry or the customer and are solely focused on the financials. Therefore, out of respect for the pioneers in the world of fashion, it would be best if celebs would refrain from using the title of "Fashion Designer" and leave it to those who have proven that they are qualified and worthy of recognition. Remember, "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it!"
What are your thoughts on celebrity clothing lines? Do you like them? Oui? No?
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