With the recent news that Zayn Malik is taking the role of creative director for his collaboration with the fashion house Versace, I wanted to discuss the way celebrity culture is dominating the fashion industry.
With all these celebrities creating their own lines or collaborating with existing designers, it makes it harder for fresh talent to gain success. Celebrities are taking the jobs away from the up-and-coming designers, models and writers, who probably have more skill in these areas then the celebrity that has been chosen in place of them.
Most of the creators of our current big fashion brands have probably been in a similar position to today’s graduates. By collaborating with celebrities on their lines, they are taking these opportunities away from the real talent. This degrades the job of a fashion designer, as most of the celebrities involved in today’s fashion collaborations are likely to have no previous experience in the field. The actual involvement of celebrities in such collaborations is often very low, and in some cases the celebrity is just licensing their name to the line in order to make a bit of extra cash.
Those who are just starting their own lines are unlikely to have the funds required to make a collection, let alone get their name out there once they have product. Especially for those who have just graduated from university with huge debts, the idea of starting your own line can seem nearly impossible. Rather than brands signing huge deals with big names, their money would be better spent in supporting fresh talent.
Zayn Malik has just announced his fashion line in collaboration with Versace. The singer has gained a lot of popularity since leaving One Direction due to his solo career and his relationship with supermodel Gigi Hadid, making him very popular right now. This will significantly help the sales of the collaboration as his fan base are so committed. While Zayn has shown an interest in fashion, Versace most likely wanted to collaborate with someone of his status as it would create a buzz around the brand and bring in more money through sales, rather than collaborate with someone because of their talent.
Kanye is another celebrity that has come from a career in music and made the move in to fashion. Kanye’s line Yeezyis now in its fourth season, producing clothing which look very similar to all of his previous collections. Due to his fame in the music business, Kanye already had a lot of money to launch his fashion line, a luxury which many new designers do not have. I don’t think Yeezy would be as popular as it is if it wasn’t for the name behind it.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America set up the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to award up-and-coming designers with the funding and business expertise required to launch their line and make a name for themselves in the business. This is giving new designers the financial boost that celebrities don’t require, therefore evening out the playing field a little.
As a fashion student myself (although not a designer), it bothers me that celebrities who already have fame and fortune are seeking to further this by extending their careers in to the fashion industry, at the expense of those who are probably much more talented. I know how tough and competitive this industry is, and how hard I am willing to work to get myself there. However, many of these celebrities, once they have reached a high level of status, are handed opportunities that should go to much more deserving creatives.
I look forward to collaborating with others like myself in an effort to support one another in this crazy industry. If I ever reach a point of great influence in my career, I hope that I would base my decisions on raw talent rather than the financial factor that comes with a big name.
By Aderyn Holt
BA Fashion Communication & Promotion