It seems like every other day a celebrity starts a fashion line. But looking good in a dress and attending fashion shows does not mean you have the talent to be a real designer. But there are a handful of female celebrities who have proven that they are real designers and should be respected.
Though the world was introduced to Richie as a lazy socialite who was the sidekick of Paris Hilton, Richie has come such a long way in her career in fashion. She has gone the way of the Olsen twins by really being involved in the design process and steadily expanding. Nicole started The House of Harlow as just an online jewelry site in 2008. She didn’t move into clothing until early 2010 with the launch of her Winter Kate line. She said a fashion line “was always something that was a long-term plan. I’ve always known I wanted to design clothes. You really have to put all of your time and effort into it. That’s why I didn’t start with clothing, because I didn’t have the time.”
Her limited edition collection for the Macy’s contemporary department debuted last fall. She made a major effort last year to meet with her customers at an in-store appearance to see what they wanted out of her designs. “It’s such an honor any time I’m driving down the street or I’m at school and I see your everyday woman just wearing a piece from my collection, that’s something that’s so special. You know it’s something that really touches me in a way that nothing else has before because they went out and they bought that piece and I’m extremely grateful. Quietly grateful,” she said.
Jessica Simpson had a good singing career, an entertaining reality television career and a not-so-good film career, but as a designer she is having an amazing career. According to WWD, The Jessica Simpson Collection has become one of the most successful celebrity fashion lines of all time. It will most likely become the first ever to earn more than a billion dollars in retail sales considering her line brought in a whopping $750,000,000 in retail sales last year alone.
As a result, her estimated net worth from her designs is $100 million. “She is the girl next door and has great product that surrounds her. People like her. People look at her as a style icon,” Vince Camuto, the founder and CEO of Camuto Group, told WWD.
She may have divorced Tom Cruise, but Katie is very much in love with being a designer. The Hollywood star teamed up with her stylist Jeanne Yang to launch the line in 2009. Barneys picked up the collection for $5 million. A source told OK! Magazine, “Katie loves being in the studio and sketching designs. She sees this as her long-term future.” The clothing line is featured in about 15 different stores and saw a boost in sales during summer 2012 (possibly due to that divorce involving a Mr. Cruise). Holmes told The New York Times their goal is “to make high-quality pieces that are simple enough, you can wear over and over again.”
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
No one can say the Olsen twins aren’t real designers anymore. Once you win the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards (which they did in 2012), there is no joking around. In addition to being the marketing masterminds and design team behind fashion lines Elizabeth & James, Olsenboye and The Row, it was reported that they would be collaborating with Bik Bok, a trendy Norwegian retailer.
What can also be admired about the Olsen twins is that they actively tried to not use their celebrity status to promote their clothing when they launched The Row. “We didn’t want people to know that we were behind it,” Ashley said. They even considered hiring a front man. “We’d learnt so much about building brands and talking to a specific customer. We did it with our faces at the beginning, and we knew we didn’t want to do that anymore. It’s far more fun this way.” The Row brings in about $10 to $12 million in sales annually.
Bosworth teamed up with her stylist, Cher Coulter (along with social commerce company BeachMint.com), to create a fresh take on the online social shopping experience at JewelMint.com. For a monthly subscription fee of $30, shoppers can choose from a selection of ‘custom’ jewelry options based on their answers to an introductory style quiz.
Kate has been involved in the fashion industry long before she became a (super) well-dressed celebrity. As a young girl she would shadow her father, who worked at Zegna and Talbots, learning about how the fashion industry worked. “My first ‘Bring Your Daughter to Work Day’ was spent understanding the difference in quality and texture between various fabrics,” she told BlackBook. “I’ve had an appreciation for good workmanship from a young age.”
Like Simpson, Beckham has had a variety of careers but she has really hit her stride with designing. In 2007, she unveiled her denim collection, called dVb. She debuted her own fashion collection at 2008’s New York Fashion Week. Now her global brand consists of the very successful dVb jeans label, dVb sunglasses range, the Victoria Beckham dress collection, her new “Victoria” dress line and a range of luxury leather handbags.
And it is Beckham’s obsessive work ethic and eye for detail that is making this brand work. Kate Hillier, who works on Victoria’s handbag range, said, “With Victoria, it’s all about the quality. I get emails from her saying, ‘The little inside pocket doesn’t have the right stitching.’ Our focus isn’t on designing a logo but on finding the right leather.”
Beckham echoed Hillier’s statement in the same article saying, “I’m still a pain in the neck to everybody who works with me. I am a perfectionist and a control freak. I give 110 percent when I go to work, and I expect that from the people that work with me. I have a fantastic team — a very, very small team, but a fantastic team.”
Stefani is one of the rare celebrities who has conquered the music world and now fashion as well. Maybe it is because she is from a long line of tailors and seamstresses. Early in her career, she even wore some of her costume creations on stage. Eventually, she decided to make her eccentric style available to the masses and created L.A.M.B. in 2004. The brand is still going strong today.
“I think fashion is more of a fun sort of thing,” Stefani told CNN. “It’s an expression of yourself and your personality and your mood, it’s not something we take super deep. I’m not going to ever be a Vivienne Westwood. I’m trying to make clothes to wear every day, that’s what L.A.M.B. is. It’s not a couture line.”