Katie Holmes and the Olsen Twins’ design careers are saving the fashion industry
Celebrity/fashion designers like Katie Holmes and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen may be boosting the fashion industry in more ways than we know. According to Businessweek, celebrity fashion designers are helping increase sales for the whole women’s apparel market, which took a major hit during the recession. It is a process of the celebrity (or even their children) going out in public in a fashionable outfit (even if they didn’t design it) followed by the resulting media exposure from that outing and gossip about their style and association with fashion that send people shopping. These celebrities charge a lot for their high-end clothing but their presence in the industry is having a trickle-down effect. This is why Katie Holmes’ relatively new line, Holmes & Yang, is expected to have a big debut at fashion week. The line has buzz because of the media circus surrounding Katie Holmes.
According to Businessweek, women’s apparel sales climbed 3% to $108.1 billion in the 12 months ended in June, according to NPD, a Port Washington, New York-based market research firm. U.S. department-store chains sell more women’s apparel than any other category of merchandise. At New York-based Saks Inc. (SKS), women’s apparel represented 35% of the chain’s $3 billion sales in the most recent fiscal year. This is in part due to just these famous women being associated with fashion in a bigger way than just wearing a designer dress in public. Celebrities know so much more about fashion than they did 15 years ago and thanks to the birth of the stylist career, are more involved in the entire process. Maren Hartman, director of U.S. content for WGSN, a London- based trend forecasting firm, said celebs know “much more about fashion. When people learn about something, they think they know a lot about it and want to capitalize on it.”
Though not all celebrity designers make it big or make it big at all, there is a group that has definitely succeeded. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s line, The Row, is one of those. Newsweek writer Robin Givhan described it as “The Gap meets Jill Sanders” because the clothing is made up of simple, minimal pieces that are really expensive and their target consumer group is 35 to 45-year-old women. A Row jersey knit t-shirt has a retail price of $290. Fashion experts believe the company has managed to succeed, despite the priciness, because the girls know their products very well, are aware of what their consumer group wants and have tried not to use or rely on their celebrity to promote it. They didn’t even want to put their name on the label at first but eventually they did. The Row has also formed partnerships with TOMS Shoes, Steve Madden and the subscription shopping web site Stylemint. It brings in about $10 to $12 million in sales annually.
The Olsen twins have proved themselves in the fashion world, but Katie still has to. However, in the wake of Holmes’s high-profile divorce, her line has been selling particularly well. “Every editor will be at the Spring 2013 Holmes & Lang showing this September at New York’s Fashion Week. Katie’s divorce and the masterful manner in which she handled it, is shining a light onto anything that she does at this moment,” David Zyla, Emmy Award-winning stylist and author of The Color of Style, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “This is a dream publicity opportunity for the label. The buyers will actually place their orders after the September show for delivery in February, so we will (have a better idea of its success) in the fall season.” It has also been reported that Katie Holmes has landed a deal with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. She would be the first celebrity face of the line. Her footprint in the fashion world just continues to grow.
Katie Holmes for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
She landed an Elle cover, dished out design wisdom on "Project Runway All Stars" and earned a spot in the Fashion Week tents for her ready-to-wear label, Holmes & Yang. But yet another high-profile fashion gig may await Katie Holmes: a Bobbi Brown Cosmetics contract.
Women's Wear Daily reports that Holmes has signed on to become the first-ever celebrity face of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Neither Bobbi Brown nor Holmes' camp would confirm, but from where we're sitting the news makes perfect sense. Bobbi Brown is known for understated glamour, for making women glow without caking them with thick layers or shocking colors. The subtle look is ideal for girl-next-door Katie, who's shown her sexy side on the red carpet but remains above all else a jeans-clad mom.
It wouldn't be Katie's first ad campaign since the whole divorce episode, as she lent her face to luxury jeweler H. Stern for the second time this August. (She's also posed for Ann Taylor in the past.) But landing a major cosmetic deal -- as the first celebrity spokesmodel for the brand ever, no less -- further signals Katie's ascent within the fashion industry as both a famous face and a hardworking professional.
Katie's much-hyped Fashion Week show on September 9 will prove whether she's got the talent and mettle to make it as a designer. But we're already certain she takes a good picture, so a makeup campaign -- for Bobbi Brown or otherwise -- can't be far off.