It’s common to hear of a celebrity launching a beauty product or a clothing line these days. No celebrity is merely an actor, actress, musician or comedian anymore. In order to maintain relevance in the public eye, celebrities feel the need to do something more.
This isn’t exactly a new development.
“The first time we really started seeing outside influences on fashion was with hip hop,” said Rebecca Robinson, a professor in Miami University’s fashion department.
As time progressed, however, this extended across much more of the performing world. Since the rise of hip hop in the 1970s, celebrities of all disciplines have broken into the fashion scene.
These figures range from names that might be more expected like Britney Spears or Rihanna, to other stars that people might not usually associate with fashion, like Melissa McCarthy or Rebel Wilson, both of whom are usually comedians.
“Rihanna’s beauty and lingerie collections ... They did a lot in fixing holes in the market,” Robinson said. “Fenty had options for a wider variety of skin tones, and her lingerie went up to sizes that other lines just didn’t.”
Celebrities are often able to break into these spaces due to their public status and name recognition, according to an article in Psychology Today.
However, a lot of these celebrity lines or collaborations are done purely for financial gain and notoriety.
“For things like perfumes, colognes, eau de parfum, what have you, the packaging actually costs more than the product,” Robinson said. “The money is not in the product, it's not in the clothing. It's in the licensing.”
Many celebrities who don’t seem like they’d have any connection to the fashion industry are still releasing clothing lines. Glamour Magazine compiled a list of more than 30 celebrities who own fashion brands.
Some aren’t surprising, like Kate Hudson, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. But others are a bit more unusual, like Ellen DeGeneres, a comedian and talk show host, who released her fashion line ED in 2015.
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Glamour described ED as offering “everything from clothing and accessories to pet, baby, and home items.”
Another unexpected name from this list is Serena Williams. While it might be normal to think that Serena would release an athletic line, her fashion line, Serena, is anything but.
Instead of athletic wear, “Serena” is a collection of fashionable dresses, hoodies, jewelry, and more. In fact, Meghan Markle wore a Serena brand blazer during her tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2018, according to Glamour.
However, decisions regarding these fashion lines aren’t entirely up to the celebrity.
“Some celebrities are very involved with their lines, others are hardly involved at all,” Robinson said.“They make very few decisions for their line.”
Throughout the last several decades the intersectionality between celebrities and the fashion industry has only grown. This pattern will most likely hold true well into the future.
Some of the crossover might be for the best, and will serve to fix some of the holes in the market. Some might crash and burn, and fade into obscurity. Either way, the future of fashion seems to be almost synonymous with the future of fame.