At least he did better than Lindsay Lohan, who was hired by fashion house Emanuel Ungaro as their ‘artistic advisor’ in 2009. When the collection showed in Paris, critics ripped it to shreds. WWD called it “an embarrassment” to fashion. Ouch. To add insult to injury, Lohan’s contract, reportedly worth millions, was dissolved soon after.
Jennifer Lopez’s Sweetface line came out in 2003 as a “high-end” contemporary spin-off of the JLo brand, but closed in Spring 2009 after poor sales. The company said they planned to relaunch with a new vision… we’re still waiting.
Material Girl Clothing is Madonna’s (and her daughter’s) clothing company, and it’s somehow stayed in Macy’s for a whole year now. It technically hasn’t “failed” yet… and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Although it has good, low price points (under $40), the collection itself is an aesthetic cluster-f%*k and the quality is similar to (if not less than) Forever 21, and about six months behind.
Other musician-turned-designer failures include Chris Kirkpatrick, Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Mandy Moore, and so many others. However, there are some musical multi-taskers that have Michael Phelps-like skills in a pool of mediocrity. Here are some of the (few) success stories:
William Rast, Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala’s clothing company, known for their premium denim, showed in 2006 and have been successful ever since. They even had a collection for Target in 2010. Celebrity clients include Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Simpson and Hayden Panettiere.
Victoria Beckham launched her collection of dresses at New York fashion week in September 2008. Retailers fought over exclusive deals to carry her line, which was praised, not because of who designed it, but the sophisticated cuts and fits. Celebrity clients include Blake Lively, Jennifer Hudson, Elle Macpherson, Brooke Shields, Gwyneth Paltrow and Heidi Klum.
L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani was founded in 2003 and made its New York fashion week debut the following year. It has expanded past clothing into shoes, watches, jewelry, handbags and fragrances. It is probably one of the most well-known celebrity fashion lines, with annual sales of over $90 million and sold in over 200 stores worldwide. Celebrity clients include Mischa Barton, Eva Longoria, Jessica Alba, Kim Kardashian and Nicole Richie.
And finally, probably the most surprising success story is Jessica Simpson, named “fashion’s billion dollar baby” by WWD. In 2010 alone, her clothes, shoes and accessories brought in $750 million in retail sales! This year she launched a sportswear and denim collection that’s expected to make around $200 million within the next year.
So what makes for success in the volatile celebrity clothing line business? There’s no real answer to that, but one thing all the success stories have in common is that they were already (more or less) fashion icons with successful careers in their original industry. Remember, no one said making it in fashion was easy.