When Celebs and Brands Collide...

15 July 2016

In many ways, the celebrity is the ultimate human brand. If celebrities can perfectly time their moves for maximum press coverage, market themselves by always appearing flawless and (perhaps most notably) convert their hours into crazy sums of cash.


The fashion world and the celebrity world have always intermingled, but social media is providing celebrities new platforms for promoting their own wares themselves (where once a Public Relations team would have taken charge) and it seems as though everyone who is anyone is riding the wave!


Celebrity collaborations aren't new (does anyone remember when the Kardashians did a range for Dorothy Perkins back in the day?!) But how connected are these collaborations with the celebrity name attached to them? And why should we favour them to regular high street collections? 



The first thing to bear in mind about celebrity collaborations is the amount of input the celebrity actually has in developing the range. Much of the time their involvement is that of giving their 'seal of approval' to items drawn up according to a lose brief they've given.


The one collaboration type you can be sure involved both parties to a full extent are those forged between the High Street and High End designers who have a firm grip on their creative output. Otherwise the collaboration could purely be a licensing deal that the 'Face Of' may never even have seen or signed off on, let alone worn themselves.


Secondly, it's worth questioning the business practice of these collaborations. It sounds obvious to say, but having this big names and large sums of cash attached to a project does not guarantee the fair treatment of workers creating the items.



Recently the internet blew up with the allegations that Beyonce's "Ivy Park" range of active-wear had been created with sweatshop labour. Now, this hardly comes as a surprise to those of us who know the practices of high street baddies like Topshop, but Beyonce? Really?! 


Her rhetoric of female empowerment will be seriously questioned if it turns out that these allegations are true. The brand statement that Ivy Park is a brand that aims to make women feel powerful leaves a bitter taste in the mouth in the knowledge that those who produced the garments are locked into the factory and paid a pittance.


So should we be queuing up overnight for celebrity collaborations? Well, if you're going to whack them straight on eBay and turn a profit on them my inner businesswoman says GO FOR IT, but on an individual basis I would ask you to sit down and contemplate WHY you're so turned onto the idea of a celebrity collaboration.


Is it really about the clothes? They are made in exactly the same way as all other high street collections, they go through the same (often morally questionable) supply chain and end up on the same shelves.


What if we are so obsessed with celebrity collaborations because we want to embody the spirit of people like Beyonce, Rihanna or Kanye through their clothing? I personally believe if we focus more of the strength, power or sheer self-confidence of our favourite idols, rather than clothes cobbled together in their image, we would have more to gain from our celeb crushes.



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