It all started in April 2007 when Kate Moss was unveiled in the window of the Topshop store Oxford, in that unforgettable flamingo red column dress. Greeted by a crowd in the 1000s all wanting their own piece of Moss Style, she exposed her first collection of 10 for Topshop and, as could only be expected for such a style icon, the whole line sold out within a few hours. Kate Moss had once again started something big.
Advance 6 years and it’s hard to walk down the British high street without being hit repeatedly by a barrage of celebrity endorsed or designed products. It’s become almost customary for celebrities to lend their names to the affordable brands that are so popular in the UK, in fact it’s somewhat more shocking for a successful socialite to not have a clothing range these days! The power that celebrities in society hold gives them the perfect opportunity to shift merchandise within minutes. After continual advertisement on twitter to their millions of followers, the fans are all too willing to splash the cash for a piece of their icon’s wardrobe. It seems as though our generation would be willing to buy anything just as long as it had the name of even someone vaguely famous creatively scribbled on it. One can only question however, whether this willingness has led to the overwhelming number of collaborations available today. It seems the market has reached its unstyish saturation point.
A few years ago the idea was still fairly fresh and exciting to the fashion world. Then we were hit by Pixie Lott for Lipsy, Amy Childs for Bank, The Kardashians for Dorothy Perkins, and of course the most recently controversial collaboration – Rihanna for River Island. After its debut at LFW it’s had its fair share of bad reviews from the press. It’s undeniable that the collection was very RiRi however it was branded as, well, a little too revealing. Still, it was a big hit among her fans, with what I can only imagine as members of the Rihanna Navy spending their clothes allowance on the pieces. Pieces that actually aren’t that spectacular and are extortionately overpriced.
Designing and wearing clothes well are too entirely different fashion games. All designers work for years to get their name in the industry, going through college, university and then interning with other design houses until the day they finally get some kind of break, hoping that it will be the making of them as a brand. It seems like celebrities get an easy ride in the altogether quite vicious world of fashion, a free pass into designing if you will. There’s an expectation that those celebrities who can dress themselves (although one has to question whether the use of a stylist is present in some cases) can also design. Rihanna is recognised for her stylish ensembles but she’s had no previous experience in design and suddenly she’s at London Fashion Week, 1 hour late may I add. It seems a rather ridiculous concept if you ask me.
Of course there are some collections that have been rather lovely, a desirable line or two among the usual mess, but then the question of how much involvement the celebrity had begins to arise. As much as they would like to boast that they were completely and utterly involved in the design process, that they were there every step of the way and that they put a lot of hard work into it all, it’s hardly believable considering their already busy schedule. It’s quite obvious that the main designer behind each and every celeb line, is in fact not the celebrity at all. It does make one wonder how the designer really putting the collection together feels about the lack of recognition they're getting. I'd assume not to great.
The excitement I felt when hearing about celebrity collaborations has worn off after the disappointment I associate with them now and the sheer number made available ever month. I for one think it's time for the high street to take a break from inviting the famous through their doors, and to start focusing on their main lines, and for celebrities to stick to what they're known for. I can only hope that they will take my advice.
Thanks for reading,
Bethany Paige x