Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keep the Fashion, Leave the Celebrity

There’s something I must declare to having a bit of a beef with. It weighs tirelessly on my mental wellbeing day in and day out. I often times awake with a start in the middle of the night, so burdened with annoyance at this very issue.

The problem? Celebrity fashion lines.

It seems as though every gal in Hollywood with a pint of success has slapped her name on a clothing line. If these desperate attempts at consumerist acceptance aren’t a case study in narcissism, I don’t know what is. It’s no secret that celebs have serious entitlement issues, but I just have to ask, why do this?

Not making a pretty penny off of your last flop-laden album, eh? So you thought you could pin your name to a line of polyester-blend atrocities and call it a day? Yes? That’s what you thought? Well find another route to profit, has-beens, because I’m sick and tired of hearing about your attempts at fashion superstardom. This isn’t sixth grade home ec—you should actually possess an iota of talent to launch a line.

Celebrity brands range from the good, the bad, to the just plain fugly. Heidi Montag-Pratt, (if you can even be considered a celebrity) that latter descriptive was to you. Your collaboration with junior budget retailer Anchor Blue was atrocious. Who exactly did you think was going to wear acrylic hot pants and zebra print dresses the length of a camisole? Oh right, you would.

Lindsay Lohan’s saunter into the leggings industry can best be explained as an act of self-beneficence. After all, we wouldn’t want her to run around bottomless, now would we? Oh wait, we’re too late. Luckily, she’s also started her own self-tanner company so when she does forget to put pants on before leaving the house her legs aren’t pasty.

Lauren Conrad provided us with enough abysmally simple jersey dresses to last a lifetime. No surprise that the overpriced line ended up crashing.

There are, of course, exceptions. To the Olsen twins, thank you for continually giving me $200 t-shirts to lust over with your lines, ‘Elizabeth and James’ and ‘The Row.’ If it weren’t for your pricey pieces, I may have long since dropped out of college and joined the circus. But a click through your fall collections gently remind me, “Sam, you need to make a living someday. Those feather-trimmed blazers aren’t going to pay for themselves. So stop scrolling through the backlogs of Textsfromlastnight and get to work. A diploma is supposed to mean a paying job someday, right? Har har…”

Then there are exceptions within lines that are otherwise deemed a disaster. For example, my roommate Erika trotted home from a particularly exhilarating trip to Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and exclaimed, “You will not believe what I bought!” With that, she procured from her smiley face-branded shopping bag a surprisingly adorable screen-printed t-shirt dress. The designer, you ask? Miley Cyrus with Max Azria. No one was more shocked than I, trust.

Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. brand continually delivers charming punk-preppy separates. Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow accessories line boded surprisingly well among fashion critics. Then there’s my personal guilty pleasure, Jessica Simpson’s shoe collection. I love the girl’s footwear so much that I own two pairs of her flats.

A friend and I were wandering around a department store over the summer and—no lie—every time I liked a pair of shoes enough to pick them up and look at the tag, they were Jessica Simpson. A little embarrassing, but I ignored the brand and bought them anyways. My friend on the other hand, insisted she would never purchase anything with Simpson’s name on it just for the principal of the matter.

For me, the JS line worked because I genuinely liked the merchandise. But the very selling point Simpson’s marketers banked on to move product is simultaneously its greatest downfall. If ‘Jessica Simpson’ hadn’t been stamped into the sole, my friend might have picked up a pair, too.

Do retailers really think that collaborating with a D-list celebrity is going to stimulate the credit card-wielding masses? I know the economy is flagging and all, but there are better ways to increase profits. For starters, try making clothes that are actually attractive.

To the celebs, all I’m saying is stick to your acting/singing/socialite-ing and leave the designing up to, uh, actual designers. Capisci?

1 comment:

Erika Moul said...

My celebrity-inspired celebrity appearance?! How glam, Sam.