How Celebrity Labels are Killing Fashion

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

September 17, 2007

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More and more celebrities are launching their own fashion design lines, from Sarah Jessica Parker and the Olsen twins to Nikki Hilton and Jennifer Lopez. Should clothing designers be concerned?

"Wow, how unfair," was Philip Lim's response to the fact that the Olsen twins' line garnered sales of 1.4 billion in 2003. The same New York Times article also quoted Vera Wang as saying "Celebrities have made it harder for real designers."

Vogue's Role in Celebrity Clothing Design
But the idea that celebrities are taking over the fashion industry shouldn't come as a surprise. The trend may have started when Vogue magazine began replacing models with celebrities on its covers, featuring them as the new arbiters of fashion. That took the focus of fashion off the designers and put it on public faces whose accomplishments, personas, and reputations can all be used to brand and market products.

Some Clothing Designers Remain Hopeful
Some designers still have hope that talented clothing designers, not actors, will prevail in the business of fashion. Diane Von Furstenberg says young designers shouldn't worry "because talent wins out."

At the end of the day, people really need clothes they can wear that are comfortable, flattering, and affordable. Most moms don't want to buy a whole new wardrobe every season. Teens do, but their tastes are fickle, changing from one month to the next. So perhaps fashion designers are better off focusing on the luxury and women's markets and leave teen fashion to the celebrities?

Don't Give up on Your Fashion Design Dreams
Aspiring fashion designers shouldn't give up on fashion school. Expertise in design will continue to be needed and appreciated--when a celebrity brand has run its course, we'll still need fashion designers who know how to make a woman look good year after year. How does a fashion designer learn to do that exactly? Find out in school! makes it easy for you to request information from both campus and online degree programs.


About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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