At the rate that celebrity-designed fashion lines are popping up, I really feel like there should be a law that says, “just because you’re famous and like to wear clothes, doesn’t mean you’re a fashion designer.”
I’m sure the fashion elite who were forced to bear witness to Kanye West’s fur-backpack-filled debut at Paris Fashion Week would high-five me on this. It’s true, many celebrity lines range from stylistically questionable (oh, hello Kanye, I didn’t see you there!) to straight-up bizarre (i.e., Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s line of slippers). The good news is that they usually don’t stick around for longer than a few seasons, and in the meantime they provide lots of fuel for snarky commentary. However, every so often a celebrity fashion line shows real staying power. Here’s a few celeb-designed lines that are worth paying attention to:
1. Elizabeth and James and The Row by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
These pint-sized fashion moguls now have several successful fashion lines under their belt, namely Elizabeth and James, a contemporary and stylish mid-tier line and The Row, a high-end couture line which recently made headlines when they sold out of their $39,000 crocodile backpack. Crazy price points aside, Mary Kate and Ashley have some serious design chops and were named Womenswear designers of the year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2012.
2. Twenty8Twelve by Sienna and Savannah Miller
Known for her trendsetting boho-chic style, Sienna Miller joined forces with her sister Savannah in 2007 to create their fashion line Twenty8Twelve. The line, which is a mix of modern edginess and feminine details, has gone on to be a rousing success, showing regularly at London Fashion Week.
3. The Victoria Beckham Collection by Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham has come a long way since her platform-wearing days as Posh Spice. In 2008, she captured the fashion world’s attention when she launched The Victoria Beckham Collection at New York Fashion Week. In 2011 she was nominated for Best Designer Brand at the British Fashion Awards, proving that she is a fashion force to be reckoned with.
4. L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani has taken her unique and flawless sense of personal style and channeled it into her clothing line L.A.M.B. The flirty label known for its whimsical and rock-and-roll-inspired looks, has since captured the imagination of average women and fashion critics alike.
5. The Jessica Simpson Collection by Jessica Simpson
I’ll admit, I totally didn’t see this one coming. However, this former pop star and reality TV show darling has created a complete fashion empire that includes reasonably priced, trendy clothing, shoes and accessories designed for the everyday stylish girl. Simpson has routinely taken a beating in the tabloids, however with more than one billion in annual sales, we’re guessing she’s laughing all the way to the bank.
6. Sean John by Diddy
Love him or hate him, Diddy’s Sean John line has proven to be one of the longest running and most commercially successful celebrity fashion lines to date. Since its launch in 1996, Sean John has grown exponentially with annual revenues exceeding $100 million.
7. The Rachel Zoe Collection by Rachel Zoe
If Hollywood’s favourite stylist created a fashion line and it wasn’t totally awesome, we’d be seriously shocked. An instant hit since its launch in 2011, The Rachel Zoe Collection features easy-to-wear looks inspired by Zoe’s own eclectic style.
8. Rocawear by Jay-Z
Like Diddy, Jay-Z launched his line in the late ’90s (1999 to be exact) and has been going strong ever since. Rocawear is now one of the most successful urban lifestyle brands out there. With sales totalling $700 million annually, we’re guessing paying the bills isn’t on Jay-Z’s famous list of problems.
9. House of Harlow 1960 by Nicole Richie
Known for her trendsetting, individual style, it’s no surprise that Richie’s gorgeous accessory line House of Harlow 1960 has garnered a cult following amongst celebrities and fashion-lovers alike. Three years after launching her accessory line in 2007, Richie struck gold again when she added her own RTW line called Winter Kate to her portfolio – a collection full of wearable, boho-chic pieces.
10. William Rast by Justin Timberlake
Back in his ‘N Sync days when JT was still rocking a cherubic blonde mini ‘fro, I never would have predicted he’d be a future fashion designer. Timberlake has since taken the world by storm with William Rast, his collection of premium denim and casual chic basics that he launched with best friend and business partner Trace Ayala in 2006.
Simone Paget is a freelance writer and the author of Skinny Dip, a cheeky blog about love, sex, relationships and everything in between. When she’s not writing her heart out, she loves wandering around her city, large cup of coffee in hand, in search of the next great story.
Image credits: Justin Timberlake: Jason Merritt; Nicole Richie: Andrew H. Walker; Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: Larry Busacca; Victoria Beckham: Jamie McCarthy