Celebrities enjoy experimenting with other creative projects outside their field of expertise in order to boost their platform. Personally, I have noticed a dramatic shift in celebrities and influencers making their way into the music industry. They create EPs and singles as another stream of revenue for themselves, even if they have no experience. But what happens when a celebrity’s platform began through their music career? What other industries are they able to experiment in?
A growing industry that many musicians have attempted to enter is fashion and beauty. Whereas some music artists would simply do a collaboration with an existing brand, others are more ambitious. Celebrities have taken the risk of starting their own fashion brands upon their name alone, and not for their skills and knowledge in fashion design. Here are a few clothing brands created by celebrities that emphasize the statement: just because you could does not mean you should.
FuMan Skeeto – Chris Kirkpatrick
Starting off with a throwback featuring the FuMan Skeeto brand created in 1999. Chris Kirkpatrick, former member of the popular boyband NSYNC, started this brand as his big break into a different industry. Boybands were all the rage in the 90s and early 2000s. With wide recognition of the band as a group, members would try to stand out in their own way. Some created an original persona or started a solo career, but Kirkpatrick wanted to try something extremely different. Thus, FuMan Skeeto officially launched.
This fashion brand stands as a perfect time capsule for 80s inspired fashion. Studded leather jackets, low rise pants, and a whole mess of denim would best describe the main elements of FuMan Skeeto. Kirkpatrick featured his work in areas including Planet Hollywood in New York before shutting down in 2002. Honestly, this brand would have been perfect with the current trends of Y2K fashion making a resurgence online.
House of Dereon – Beyonce
Before there was Ivy Park, Beyonce had House of Dereon. Launched in 2006 with the help of her mother, Tina Knowles, Beyonce named her fashion brand after her grandmother, Dereon. The brand’s main demographic were fans of Destiny’s Child. Tina Knowles worked as the trio’s stylist and wanted to share her skills of design with their audience. It was the perfect 2000s time capsule within the R&B subculture of music. The collection featured pieces of beautiful floral print, and denim that received praises by the masses.
Due to family affairs and the birth of Blue Ivy, House of Dereon shut their doors in 2012. As a member of the Beyhive, I know it hurts to bring up Beyonce’s unsuccessful works. However, I also feel like it is important to use House of Dereon as an example of how a celebrity can grow and learn from their past.
Abbey Dawn – Avril Lavigne
The pop-punk aesthetic of the mid-2000s were a staple in youth fashion. At the top of the forerunners for this lifestyle was the music artist Avril Lavigne. Her carefree attitude and edgy fashion sense caught the attention of millions of young listeners. With her rise in popularity, Lavigne was able to release her fashion brand Abbey Dawn. Released in 2008, Abbey Dawn comes from an old nickname Jean-Claude Lavigne, Avril’s father, used to call her.
Sold exclusively at Kohl’s, Abbey Dawn targeted younger audiences. The brand focused on simple lifestyle apparel such as shirts, jeans, hoodies, etc. This brand grew in popularity by utilizing Avril’s punk-princess aesthetic in order to create a cute and edgy fusion. However, as the pop-punk phase slowly died out, so did Avril’s partnership with Kohl’s. The music artist pulled out of her deal with department retail and decided to start her label as an independent and sell it online.
Benjamin Bixby – Andre 3000
A big move for rappers is to come out with their own line of street fashion or apparel. Because a lot of producers and artists come from underdeveloped areas, their authenticity thrives through their sound and visual aesthetics. Famously known as one of the leading members of OutKast, Andre 3000 did not want to only create music. The rapper and songwriter also shared a passion for fashion and worked to create his own brand. With years of planning and designing, the Benjamin Bixby brand launched in 2008.
Benjamin Bixby stood out compared to other fashion brands made by rappers because of its preppy aesthetic. Andre Benjamin wanted to showcase how the style of academia and formality never represented the black consumer. He spent millions of dollars traveling across the globe to look for the best resources to keep the brand on its toes. However, the brand’s traction never picked up and Andree 3000 had lost millions towards his passion. I credit him with being a forerunner that allowed artists such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams to enter the fashion scene.
Would you agree that these fashion brands deserved more recognition? I would like to think that they all had potential but were only able to thrive within the time of their launch. Selling a specific lifestyle or brand is difficult nowadays due to the rapid movement between trends on social media.
Overall, I would claim that musicians should work more collaboratively with already established brands. This way the artist can still pursue their dreams in fashion without over-saturating the market.