Fame and Fashion Fortune? : The Effects of Celebrity on the Fashion Industry

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by Luxx, Jul 6, 2010.

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What do you think about Gaga's fashion?

Poll closed Oct 15, 2012.
  1. Love it!

    41.7%
  2. It's okay!

    8.3%
  3. Meh!

    50.0%
  4. Love it!

    41.7%
  5. It's okay!

    8.3%
  6. Meh!

    50.0%
  1. Luxx

    Luxx oh me, oh my

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    Celebrities have always been linked with fashion, but in the past decade or so we've seen an unprecedented amount of celebrity involvement with stars launching their own clothing lines, perfumes, etc, appearing in advertisements, dominating the front rows, magazines covers timed to coincided with movie premieres (not a new development but bear with me) etc.

    How much of an influence on fashion do you think celebrities have and do you feel that they have negatively or positively effected things? Does it benefit fashion to have a "celebrity" brand wherein all the clothes are obviously designed by someone else (Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, etc) or are things cheapened by the involvement of an outsider who does not have the experience necessary (Lindsay Lohan's disastrous turn with Ungaro) tell me what you think.


    Read this interesting stat the other day: on NST.
    Now I don't have any celebrity scents in my collection, nor do I really know anyone who does, but this is big business.


     
  2. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    I think it's a market idea that originated from the time of the supermodels. Before then there would be an occasional association between celebrities and brand names - such as between Catherine Deneuve and Chanel - but not as a constant fixture. The supermodels became celebrities, and it was obvious they thereby improved the sales. Then it was equally obvious - why not take celebrities - now that we have photoshop to cure their various imperfections - and use them instead of supermodels.

    Vogue (and Bazaar) set the tone in the fashion environment. As Vogue started to use celebrities, including the supermodels, on their covers in the 90s the rest followed. Why did they put celebrities and such non-fashion people on the covers? To combat Elle, the new contender that entered the American market in 1985 (or 6?).

    Of course, lots of trashy magazines move more copies than Vogue and always have - why Vogue at that particular time would have to stand up to Elle is not clear to me at all. I'm pretty sure Vogue Paris has not had such a head-to-head competition with its French Elle counterpart.

    Perhaps some sort of business oriented idea of survival of the fittest? The late 80s was a time of "out with the old in with the new" and that whole yuppie era - I suppose it might have become an issue of existence...
     
  3. seahorseinstripe

    seahorseinstripe New Member

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    his is a good thread honestly i kinda feel disturbed with this lately, especially when i read interviews on the magazines on how the process going on etc, mostly they answer by saying that they just bring up their favourite collections from their wardrobe an "remake" them.
    seems like anything scream celebrities sell.
     
  4. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    there exist two different avenues to pursue this question. on the whole, celebrities -- like the supermodels who came before them -- coax the unfashionable world into a more fashionable existence. the more that the masses follow the style choices of any number of celebrities -- from tila tequila to tilda swinton -- the more they learn to develop style identities of their own. on the other hand, for the fashionable among us, i do think that celebrities serve as a handy way to alert us to style choices deemed palatable to the masses but not necessarily for the fashion elite (that's why the cottage industry of streetstyle bloggers and the celebritization of barely-known models, photographers, socialites, editors, et al, has sprung up for the rest of us).

    on the whole, however, i do believe that the interest the celebrity universe has taken in fashion (and the reciprocation its received) finds itself a great thing as long as its channeled into actual and historical fashion venues. using celebrity to advertise a new fragrance for a storied house, co-chair a benefit for the costume institute, bring red carpet publicity to an insider label, or even shill copies of a venerable fashion magazine stand as perfect examples of this. if they want to start labels or launch fragrances with that "fashion cred," it's fine because it's understood that there's a difference between what they're doing and what bonafide designers do.
     
  5. masquerade

    masquerade God Save McQueen

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    I think its important to differentiate between the celebrities like Victoria Beckham and the Olsen twins (for their The Row label) and people like Gwen Stefani and Jessica Simpson. I would go on to say there is even more difference between Stefani and Simpson and celebrities like Avril Lavigne who sells her line as Kohls, but once you get to that point, you aren't even discussing fashion anymore.

    Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears and their ilk are not taking sales from high fashion designers. I went to college with a huge middle class population of girls who wore Britney Spears perfume and Jessica Simpson shoes. These women think BCBG is the height of fashion and there really isn't a problem with it. They wouldn't be buying a fine designer product anyway instead of replacing it with a celebrity line. These lines are basically irrelevant to Fashion with a capital F, as a whole.

    I think it really becomes interesting when we talk about celebrities infiltrating high end fashion and niche brands. I think there is more apprehension and even bitterness from people in the industry over these untrained amateurs. I remember a quote from Phillip Lim on the subject:

    The whole article is very interesting if you want to read it, here.

    I think Lohan's failure which you mentioned cannot be attributed to her celebrity but her overall incompetence. Sarah Jessica Parker at Halston will be interesting to watch as it will be the first time we can look at a sane celebrity taking the reigns at an established house.

    I am not sure of what point i am really trying to make. I guess I have none. It's important to note that Halston with SJP has Marios Schwab and Victoria Beckham has Roland Mouret. Of course, these men (and all the trained designers working for celebrity lines) don't get the credit they deserve. But neither do the designers under Karl Lagerfeld or Marc Jacobs who do most of the work. Do we forgive Marc and Karl because they are trained? In the end, not much separates celebrity designers and designer celebrities. It's the small guys that are getting screwed over the most.
     
  6. ultramarine

    ultramarine chaos reigns

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    I find it very irritating about celebrities tarnishing the title of "fashion designer" by supposedly creating fashion lines ... there are cases in the fashion world where it happens (Marc Jacobs menswear) but still Marc did go to Parsons and he did study and worked in the industry ...
    Now in order to succeed, you must become a product ... most of you know Im not a fan of the whole celebrity culture and how it has plagued the fashion world, but it just responded to the needs of market who's got a thirst for those who have branded themselves.
    I like Gwen ... I love her style ... but when I saw her stuff and knew twas all L'wren I knew I wudnt touch it with 10 foot pole ...
    Then there are the models like Gisele who sell flipflops/sandals ... which kinda makes more sense than a celeb but I still think they're carrying a completely not deserved title ...
     
  7. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    @masquerade one cannot discount the impact of celebrity labels on the bottom lines of major houses. while many of their customers may never step in a prada boutique in their lifetimes, they would've bought a designer perfume, sunglasses, shoes or handbag instead of a celebrity lookalike.
     
  8. Luxx

    Luxx oh me, oh my

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    With regards to the lower priced lines I don't mind it as much, since as you said the person purchasing Selena Gomez's clothing line is probably not going to be picking up actual fashion any time soon. That said, there is something depressing about it all the same...

    I don't think I agree really, granted the design stars don't really do it all on their own, but they provide creative direction, are trained, have paid their dues working for other designers and honing their skills and know a thing or two about the business in which they work. When Victoria Beckham spends a year or two assisting, cutting patterns, studying art, developing an eye and creating something that has a unique point of view then she can call herself a designer. As of right now she's just some chavy WAG who got a particularly successful makeover. All creative direction comes from Roland and her clothes are essentially lesser versions of the things he designed. Now while, I don't think that Karl Lagerfeld or Marc honestly does every single thing with at their respective labels, I do think that they provide a certain amount of management and direction. Do little people wind up getting their toes stepped on, yes, but there is no scenario wherein that isn't the case unless a design commune is set up.

    For me it isn't a necessarily a matter of who is doing the most work; you're always going to have worker bees and queen bees, it is a matter of whether or not the qualifications of the person in charge are suitable for the task at hand. Even the most inexperienced and lazy designer has probably put in more work than most of these celebrities and I don't say that because I'm biased against them. I love celebrities, but almost no one has the time to do a movie, do a play, drop an album, make a perfume and run a clothing line all at once. I have always felt that the people in charge should derive their authority based on their qualifications and training. When I see Victoria or Sarah cutting patterns and making sketches perhaps then I will find the idea of their clothing lines slightly less ludicrous.

    Granted, not every designer nowadays even knows how to sew, make patterns, etc. but I think that the majority still brings a little something more to the table.

    mikeijames, you bring up a good point. I think it is especially true within the world of fragrance. Things have really been split up in a way, you have the cheaper designer lines which compete with the celebrity brands in terms of price point and then you have this whole set of niche perfume lines that are sprouting up that sort of differentiate themselves by promoting the idea of exclusivity and true luxury.



     
    #8 Luxx, Jul 7, 2010
    Last edited by moderator : Jul 7, 2010
  9. masquerade

    masquerade God Save McQueen

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    Prada sunglasses are made by Luxottica. The same brand produces Madonna's D&G line. Coty Prestige makes Jennifer Lopez fragrance as well as Chloe. A designer trained in womenswear probably has as much knowledge and experience producing perfume or fragrance as a celebrity. What is so different from someone buying Prada sunglasses for the designer cache and Madonna sunglasses for the celebrity cache? Sure, the Prada sunglasses fun the Prada label and allows for more creative fashion expansion and I recognize it. I just think we need to acknowledge that the cache of wearing a designer brand and wearing a celebrity brand is the same in different communities. I would go even farther and say that things like Prada nylon bags and D&G sunglasses are somewhat looked down upon in the fashion community anyway. Much in the same way celebrity products are.

    As for you, Luxx, I don't feel like the niche perfume (or sunglasses, or bags, or shoes, or denim, or anything niche products that have dedicated followings in the fashion world) are part of the discussion. They are a great alternative for people who don't want to wear something that was created as a cash cow. The wonderful thing about them is that you are getting something that is created by someone dedicated, and putting your business in a mostly independent field. But at the same time, I don't think someone buying Britney Spears perfume knows or cares who Serge Lutens is.
     
  10. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    @masquerade i understand the cachet associated with celebrity goods vs. designer goods. my point remains that ten years ago the same girl who would've bought ck one now buys glow by j.lo. that has an effect on fashion's bottom line. no, someone who buys britney spears may not know serge lutens, but they know burberry, they know gucci, they know chanel. and the britney spears of the world have stolen that market share. as a result, the burberry, the gucci, and the chanel now have to compete on that level. hence, celebrities in ads, celebrites on runway, celebrities taking bows at the end of the show, celebrites in the front row.

    one cannot discount the effect these celebrities have on the entire enterprise of fashion. that's why i contend that celebrities remain useful when their influence gets channeled into actual fashion and not just their own money-making ventures.
     
  11. iheartbags

    iheartbags New Member

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    Celebrities represent glamor as much as fashion does. As such, both have become increasing interconnected over the years. Both industries feed off each other, benefiting from the one another's successes
     
  12. agee

    agee Active Member

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    Random Thoughts:

    Celebrities are muses and are as legitimate a muse as flowers growing in a meadow. Tisci is a respected designer and counts Ciara is one of his muses. Looking at runway shows, you can tell that celebs have influenced at least the styling, if not the actual clothes. Wasn't one of Lagerfeld's collection look inspired by Amy Winehouse right?

    Celebrities are marketing tools. Having a celeb wear your garment to the right event can be more exposure than obtained by a runway show, an editorial or campaign.

    It's the designers' choice as to how much they are going to curry favor with celebs. Also, who the designer is is a factor too, and their motives can be hard-nose business or it can be just someone who is enamored with an individual celeb or with celeb culture.

    As time passes, I think that Victoria Beckham, Gwen Stefani, The Olsens have been deemed serious designers. I think that Jessica Simpson is considered as having achieved great success in the mass market.

    The more I learn about the fashion industry, the more I am OK with celebrity fashion lines. First of all, if I am Sean Combs, Justin Timberlake or Gwen Stefani, why should I let fashion designers co-opt my style, and not attempt to capitalize on the fact that some people out there may find my fashion sense interesting?

    Secondly, fashion is very insular, while I do not doubt their talent or work ethic, many of the top American designers today come from the same geographic area and went to the same schools. So interlopers swooping in from Orange County, California, Great Britain or Memphis, Tennessee are not a bad thing.

    IMO, if the muses gave Alexander McQueen's exact same talent to a working class kid from Georgia or Ohio or Austria, the odds are overwhelming that s/he will live out his life as a local dressmaker / tailor or designer, maybe getting a nice write up in the local paper every few years, so I am not too worked up over the "unfairness" of celebrity interlopers when I know that the industry, for whatever reason, is not a pure meritocracy.
     
    #12 agee, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited by moderator wendla: Nov 5, 2010
  13. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    good point, agee. the ideas of "talent" and "opportunity" remain very fascinating notions in the modern world. with that said, no sector of the contemporary world acts as a pure meritocracy. one eventually comes to a point in one's ascent where one comes up against the preferences/biases of those who can further that ascent and one must make a decision to fight against that or capitulate to that system. there exist many talented basketball players that never step foot on an nba basketball court. there exist many political geniuses that never hold a political office.

    the creative world remains where this idea gets the most sticky because of the overtly subjective measures of success and credibility. this forum illustrates that with each fashion season. there exist six or seven legitimate ways to critique the success of a collection that find themselves in contrast or complementing depending on the collection. how can a celebrity, then, even make an effort at legitimacy when three or four of those strains of thought dismiss them out of hand because of that idea of a "meritocracy."

    in the end, the reality remains that celebrity lines and traditional fashion houses largely appeal to different demographics depending on the products they offer. it's interesting to note when celebrity lines succeed in creating more than that (it's worth noting here that william rast attempted this, but has fallen away from this in recent seasons). victoria beckham and the row exhibit this quite well: they decided not to create a line that wholly turns on their fame, but clings to their point of view (which, in the end, is all that fashion is about). for this reason, i do think that celebrities function best in the world of fashion as marketing tools and ways to draw eyes to legitimate fashion for the most part. just as fashion functions best in the world of celebrity as a way to draw eyes and create fanfare around legitimate talent.
     
  14. agee

    agee Active Member

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    ^^ I agree that there is no such thing as a pure meritocracy, but when I think of prestigious professions like corporate law or investment banking, I feel like I would be more likely to find a higher proportion of "outsider" types among their top ranks than I would in the top ranks of fashion. Although I truly don't think that these folks are sitting around a table deciding who to let in and who not to, it's just evolved that way and the insularity probably has a lot to do with certain barriers to entry like real estate cost in New York.

    I am not sure I fully understand what you mean by "in the end, the reality remains that celebrity lines and traditional fashion houses largely appeal to different demographics depending on the products they offer," but I think that the demographics issues take care of themselves within a generation, today's upstart is tomorrow's establishment. I think that some of the celebrities who are entering the fashioned business can be likened to Diane von Furstenberg or Carolina Herrera, instead of it being a couple of stylish rich girls who started a fashion line, it is a couple of stylish singers or actresses who started a fashion line.
     
  15. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    ^having friends in both the investment banking and corporate law businesses, i can tell you that they lack much of the meritocracy that one might imagine. the investment banks pick their new talent from the same schools that every other "good old boy" profession chooses their talent. how one gets into these extremely expensive and elite schools stands as one of the most illustrative examples of a non-meritocracy meritocracy. yes, many of the kids that go these schools remain the best and brightest in the world, but a large share of the kids that go to these schools got their because of legacies and financial contribution. also, one must remember, that to nab clients at the high level in these industries takes a certain amount of insider hobnobbing that sometimes filters out truly talented people in favor of those with important connections. again, it comes down to how far one wants to ascend and the things one finds themselves willing to do to continue that ascent. some talented people make those compromises and play the games with that crowd; others defy the system and make new rules.

    that happens in every industry from yankee stadium to silicon valley to wall street to tinseltown. it eventually comes down to who you know.

    what i mean about the demographics comes in the product offerings of a traditional fashion house compared to the product offerings of a celebrity house depends on the product. when pop star usher releases a new cologne, he's not appealing to the same audience, necessarily, as bang by marc jacobs. of course, there's exceptions to every rule, but on the whole, it's a completely different target. when jessica simpson releases a new pair of wedges, she's not making those wedges to appeal to the same girl who would contemplate a pair of chanel espadrilles. so really, those type of celebrity lines pose no threat to the "legitimacy" of the major fashion houses, but they only nibble away at those companies margins on the edges. there exist women who once would've bought cavalli frames that now buys ed hardy. there exist men who once would've ponied up for dolce and gabbana ripped jeans that now settles for sean combs' oversized numbers instead.

    the difference between the diane von furtstenbergs and carolina herreras of the world remain their dedication to their point of view vs. their dedication to the bottom line. yes, fashion is a business in the end, but one earns legitimacy by clinging to their core aesthetic and re-interpreting it for the times as they come. lots of these fast fashion houses, celebrity houses, and mass market retailers have very talented designers working for them behind the scenes busily copying the wares of the actual designers in the name of turning a profit. so i guess in the end, it turns on the motivation and passions of those at the top. that's what will allow actual designers to perservere through hard times and what weeds out those celebrities who are just in it for a quick buck.
     
  16. agee

    agee Active Member

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    No disrespect but what you noted about the profile of these industries is well-known and that is exactly why I brought up them up because they are the hallmarks of insularity and elitism with my point being, the fashion industry beats out the two biggest cliches of insularity and elitism - although the fashion industry elitism is not of the Mayflower, blue blood, Brahmin, Biff and Buffy variety.

    Wall Street investment banks and law firms seem more comparable to the European fashion scene, although admittedly, I don't know "their stories" as much, but if an "outsider" can get into Central Saint Martins, Parsons or the like, there are paths to them becoming "names" without family / neighborhood connections a la McQueen, Galliano and Ford. Similarly, a working class kid from middle America can get into Harvard and Yale and eventually end up as a top executive on Wall Street. As previously stated, I do not doubt the talent or work ethic of the designers who have become "names," but in addition to those two things, many of them have family money and connections. I don't doubt that Texan Tom Ford would have become a well-paid fashion executive if he stayed in New York, but would he have become "Tom Ford," if he had not worked for Gucci.

    Back to the celebrities, I don't think that you can presume that, "diane von furtstenbergs and carolina herreras of the world remain their dedication to their point of view vs. their dedication to the bottom line. yes, fashion is a business in the end, but one earns legitimacy by clinging to their core aesthetic and re-interpreting it for the times as they come," and that Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham have not or will not. Yes there are celebrity entrants into the fashion world who are not serious and will not last, and there have been rich kids who have blown a good chunk of their inheritance on fashion follies, and some of them even went to fashion school, but I tell you what, the talented graduates of Parsons and Pratt who don't come from rich families have to work somewhere and what is wrong with it being for Sean John or William Rast.
     
    #16 agee, Nov 7, 2010
    Last edited by moderator wendla: Nov 7, 2010
  17. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    my larger point remains that there exist these games in every single industry that upend the notion of a pure meritocracy. with respect to education, for example, the tuition at parsons comes in at $18,400, each year, rhode island school of design has a tuition of $38,000, pratt has a tuition of $35,140, and while central saint martins and FIT come in a bit lower, for most, it's not exactly a price point that most can afford no matter their talent (compare this to the $5k average tuition per year at most schools in the united states). and yes, i know there exists financial aid and other things, but it's still not a strict meritocracy when one comes down to it. there's an economic factor at play here. people who matriculate into those schools and graduate for them have not only the benefit of an excellent education, but a strong network of fairly wealthy peers.

    with respect to these celebrity lines, i know that talented people work for these businesses, it's a question of the leadership. what ever happened to sweetface by jennifer lopez? does any one really talk about phat farm anymore? while i don't lump the row or victoria beckham into this category, i certainly contend that some other celebrities lines will evaporate just as soon as they lose interest or it becomes less-than-worthwhile for them. they don't have the passion and creative drive -- in the fashion arena, mind you -- that others have. i have no doubt that jennifer lopez would continue to write and sing even if no one bought her album because that's her passion, but when it comes to fashion, it's pretty clear that it's a business decision. i'm curious whether gwen stefani's L.A.M.B. or justin timberlake's william rast have staying power, but i don't even group them with brands like duff by hillary duff or lc lauren conrad that really nakedly just exist to make those celebrities money.
     
  18. agee

    agee Active Member

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    My point about the insularity / elitism has been made and as of now I don't have anything to add that is not repetitive.

    Whatever happened to Richard Tyler, Randolph Duke and Christian LaCroix? My point is that bad leadership, frivolity, bad business sense, poor business conditions and bad luck happens, this is not an indictment against whatever background the aforementioned represent.

    And Michael Kors, Zac Posen, Rodarte have lines or made deals that nakedly exist to make them money. And why the heck does the tFS community get up in arms over mass media stars starting mass market lines! And if you are going to be distributing your wares in 1000+ stores, you dang well better be in it for the money. Do we know the background and motives of every behind every principle who has a line at Target, Walmart and Kohl's? And anyone who does not care about the money aspect in any segment of the fashion industry is setting themselves up to fork over a lot of money to bankruptcy attorneys, just ask Mizrahi and Kors.
     
    #18 agee, Nov 7, 2010
    Last edited by moderator wendla: Nov 7, 2010
  19. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    point well taken. not all fashion business find themselves successful. a true "designer" like a true "writer" or a true "actor" or true anything will keep at those things even when life turns a different way. richard tyler, randolph duke, and christian lacroix all still pursuing their passion with respect to design. richard tyler had a profile in the los angeles times about his small outfit out there, randolph duke does a line for home shopping network, and christian lacroix is still pursuing the dream despite it all. they have a drive and a passion for fashion.

    we don't know the motivations of each and every one. but, over time, those intentions become clear. you can't fake a passion for something for an extended period of time. yes, fashion is business, but time separates the dilettantes from bonafide designers.
     

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