Who is the most successful ‘celebrity fashion designer’? Victoria Beckham? The Olsen Twins? Gwen Stefani? No to all three. Apparently it is Jessica Simpson, an American singer and reality TV star who has turned herself into a clothing mogul with more aplomb than her any of her more-talented-onstage counterparts could dream of. Last year her various lines took around $750 million (or £464m). WHAT? Oh yes.
Neither cheap and nasty or department store fancy, Nymag describes the price points as the sort that mean ‘a girl could go to the shopping mall with her mother and she’d have a great new outfit and still have some money left for lunch at McDonald’s. She can look like Jessica Simpson, smell like Jessica Simpson, and she can afford it’. Plus, maybe because, rather than an un-touchable Lady Gaga figure, Jessica is pretty but often is caught out and about without makeup and she has very publically put on and then lost weight at various times making her very relatable as celebrities go. Olivia Palermo she ain't.
The evolution of the brand has been thus – ‘She is short, and she likes [platform shoes] on which the toe box rests on a several-inch platform. So six years ago she launched a shoe collaboration with the co-founder of Nine West. The footwear sold, so she kept adding on, and the result today is 22 different licenses, ranging from those original shoes to denim to coats to dresses for a party.’
As she explains her appeal thus – ‘I can fill all different kinds of genres in fashion, music, TV, film, personality,’ she says. ‘I just relate to all of it. So we reach out to all ages. Like just the other day my nana asked for a pair of jeggings because we sent her a pair of boots that went up to her knee, and she was like, ‘For this I think I need a pair of jeggings.’
When she puts it like that it sounds so simple. SURELY there must be more to it than that?
- Naomi Attwood