Riches to Racks

As published here:

Originally written: 23/10/2011


It was recently revealed that Jessie J is to design a range of tights for Henry Holland’s Pretty Polly collection. After I got over my initial annoyance (Henry – yay, Jessie – nay), it struck me that actually, it’s almost expected nowadays for celebrities to do clothing collaborations. A surprising amount have their own fashion houses. But aren’t they busy enough doing what they normally do for a living? How can they find time to take on jobs as creative directors too?

It’s kind of a given that most celebrities love fashion (with the amount of freebies they get, it’d be rude not to, right?). On a slightly grander scale than us commoners, they’re just people who love clothes. They’re invited to fashion weeks, sit front row, befriend the designers. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise when one announces they’re setting up her own fashion label. After all, if the years have given them insight into the industry, if it’s something they’re passionate about and can afford to fund – why not?

Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. label has been going for several years now, and shows alongside ‘regular’ designers at New York Fashion Week. In the past, the singer has claimed it was something she’d always wanted to do – in her No Doubt days, she’d often make her own stage costumes. For Stefani, passion is key.

Jay-Z’s Rocawear label was established in 1999, and each year it generates sales of around $700 million, with everything from childrenswear to accessories.  Though he remains CEO, Jay-Z sold the rights to Rocawear in 2007 for $204 million. So there’s money to be made if you’re savvy.

But for most celebrities, that’s probably not their first consideration. Perhaps they want to show that there’s more to them than what you see on TV or in magazines; or like Gwen, they simply have a love of making clothes.

The Olsen twins are well known world-wide for their hugely successful Mary Kate and Ashley film, TV and book franchise, as well as a clothing line for Wal-Mart. Aged twenty-five, they are now established fashion icons and run two fashion lines, high-end label The Row (this season featuring a £23,000 alligator backpack, if you’re interested) and lower-priced sister label Elizabeth and James, named after their siblings. In 2007, the twins were thought to have amassed around $100 million from their various enterprises. Not bad for former child stars.

For those not so keen on the catwalk, the high street presents an alternative. Some celebrities have taken to simply designing a few things for a retailer. Kate Moss’collections for Topshop over the past few years has yielded crazy queues outside stores, and some even-crazier bidding on eBay for those unable to obtain items from the greatly coveted collections. Women everywhere were battling for their own piece of Kate – but why?

The garments she designed seem to almost come with a ‘golden touch’, her own personal seal of approval, the kind of thing a non-celebrity label, or the retailer alone, can’t give. To own a Kate Moss Topshop dress is like having your very own piece of Kate’s style – not to mention this works out a lot cheaper than any of the catwalk celebrity designers. Prices for Kate’s clothes ranged from roughly £20-£150; Victoria Beckham, L.A.M.B. and The Row will set you back considerably more.

There’s no doubt the Kate Moss lines have been hugely successful, so does this mean we’ll be seeing more celebrities doing high street collaborations in the future? It’s one of the easiest ways to imitate their style without breaking the bank (if your elbows are sharp enough to fight off the crowds). As far as promotion for the store itself, announce a celebrity collaboration and the customers will come flooding in.

The Jessie J line is no exception – one of this year’s biggest stars, Jessie has done wonders for the tights trade by wearing all types of zany designs, including the original Henry Holland tights, a walking promotion of the trend for crazy legwear. But getting the celebrity in question to actually design the goods they’re trying to sell to you brings ‘celebrity spokesperson’ to the next level.

Clearly, fame carries weight in the fashion world, and it seems whether on the catwalk or on the high street, there’s always a market for a product with a celebrity’s name on it – no matter what the price tag.


A Tale of Four Cities

As published here:

Originally written: 11/10/2011

While autumn may just have begun, the fashion world is already gearing up for spring/summer – aren’t they optimistic? The four major fashion weeks, which essentially dictate what we’ll be wearing next season, have just taken place. Fashion editors, photographers and bloggers have all meticulously recorded what they saw, and the stand has sorted through it all to bring you the highlights of each city.


The DKNY show fell on the anniversary of 9/11, and the homeland influence was clear in this collection, from the red, white and blue florals, to the tailoring, which evoked ‘New York City chic’. Alexander Wang offered his (much more fashionable) interpretation of the American football jersey, succeeding in making sportswear acceptable streetwear. Ralph Lauren also took inspiration from US culture, as always, presenting a Great Gatsby-esque collection. Don’t be surprised if some of these looks make it into the upcoming film adaptation.


Everyone was talking (or rather sniffling) about Christopher Kane’s show, one which apparently moved the fash pack to tears! Brilliantly structured dresses were the order of the day here, with smatterings of florals alongside more subtle shades.  Spring’s predicted trend of animal prints ‘with a twist’ were shown by Mary Katrantzou, whose incredible designs went down a storm as usual. Meadham Kirchhoff put on a show that made whimsical, childish dressing strangely appealing; rainbows and smiling love hearts, here we come.


Bottega Veneta used a mixture of textures and bright colours to give a retro feel to their catwalk show. There were some rather… interesting… vegetable prints at Dolce and Gabbana (taking the produce theme a step further from Stella McCartney’s Summer 2011 collection). Continuing the slightly random print theme, Prada presented various car printed garments, including one leather skirt with a large hot-rod motif. Forget bananas, Miuccia has just given us the next cult print. Expect to see it everywhere come spring.


The City of Light brought plenty to talk about, from Sarah Burton’s mermaids at Alexander McQueen, to Commes des Garcons’ entire collection of white wedding-style dresses. Some, however, may be a tad outlandish for even the most tradition-defying bride. Karl Lagerfeld created an underwater paradise at the Grand Palais for Chanel. Pearly-white suits and iridescent sequinned jackets presented a different interpretation of the aquatic theme than previously seen. The accompanying siren song was provided by none other than Florence Welch, who got to take a bow with Karl himself at the end. Lucky girl…



Photographs ©; © CondéNetUK Limited 2011

Student Style

Originally written: 17th October 2011

Clockwise from top: Duffle coat, Topshop; wool mix shorts, Gap; cardigan and lace skirt, H&M; quilted jacket and gloves, H&M (scarf- birthday gift, River Island); faux-suede leggings, H&M; leather boots, Office; scarf, H&M; glitter heels, New Look. Phew. (missing is an H&M dress I couldn’t get to sit right on the hanger- it looks glorious on though- black pleated)

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that all of the items pictured above (minus the denim shirt in the top right photo) have been bought in the past month. My restraint around clothes… disappears completely. To be fair though, I’m set for winter now. I won’t buy anything else…

University is my time to take some fashion risks. I think the faux-suede leggings kind of have that covered.

Needless to say 100% of the attraction factor to the duffle coat was that it looks so like Oliver Tate’s in Submarine.

 From a sartorial point of view, university is a really interesting place to be. There’s a lot of variety in the way people dress, which for me is inspiring. Just about any style you could imagine here seems to be represented, from jeans-and-tees casual to preppy blouses and riding boots; mishmashes of this season’s trends to the Barbour-and-Hunters stereotype that St Andrews seems to be famed for, though it’s no more prevalent than any of the other styles I’ve mentioned. Hopefully I can glean some new ideas for my own wardrobe to help me on my quest for fashion adventure. Who knows what sorts of things I’ll be wearing come next year?