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Attaching the title of “fashion designer” to celebrities seems to be a never-ending trend, even though they’ve had decidedly mixed success at retail. Here, WWD takes a look at the top contemporary, tween and young women’s celebrity apparel brands ranked by the number of U.S. doors. (For a closer look at the market’s newcomers, see opposite page.) Some of the biggest names are found closer to the bottom of the rankings — Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez, for example — but executives at the two fashion houses claim that’s because they’re selective about where they place their collections. Said a spokeswoman for L.A.M.B.: “This brand…is considered a luxury designer brand, a fact enforced by its highly selective distribution. The collection is sold in only the best retailers around the world.”
STUFF BY HILARY DUFF
Number of doors sold to nationally: 5,100
The teen sensation includes apparel in her well-marketed stuff by hilary duff collection. Specific apparel items, such as polo T-shirts, denim gauchos and patchwork skirts are sold at retailers from Wal-Mart to Kohl’s. The tween brand also includes jewelry, accessories, DVDs, CDs, dolls, luggage and more. In addition to her fashion line, Duff created her own fragrance, called With Love, and she launched her latest album last week, titled “Dignity.”
BABY PHAT BY KIMORA LEE SIMMONS
Doors: 3,500 (est.)
Since its launch in 2000, Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat has evolved into a fashionable juniors line, consisting of logo-heavy T-shirts, denim, jackets, pants, outerwear and more — and it continues to perform well at retail. In addition to apparel, Baby Phat has ventured into swimwear, lingerie, handbags and accessories. Since the brand’s consumer is getting older, “we’ll continue offering Baby Phat to our younger consumers, but we also want to sell pieces that reflect a sexy, stylish feel with the new KLS Collection,” said a Baby Phat spokesman. “This particular line is actually celebrity-wearable.”
APPLE BOTTOMS BY NELLY
The mastermind behind Apple Bottoms, Cornelius Haynes Jr., (aka: multiplatinum hip-hop artist Nelly), launched the denim-heavy brand in 2002. In addition to its body-hugging jeans, the collection features sexy tops, miniskirts, jackets, sweat suits and outerwear. Last year, Apple Bottoms signed licensing deals to produce jewelry, handbags, footwear and accessories such as iPod and BlackBerry cases. “We’re an empire now,” Shauna Miller, licensing director for Apple Bottoms, told WWD in July. The brand is worn by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Vivica A. Fox and Alicia Keys.
ROCAWEAR BY JAY-Z
Doors: 3,000 (est.)
Jay-Z’s Rocawear was officially purchased last week by New York-based Iconix Brand Group for $204 million in cash (and contingent payments of an additional $35 million of Iconix stock based on performance thresholds over the next three to five years). Rocawear’s contemporary merchandise, which includes knits, denim, dresses, outerwear and more, is sold through better department and specialty stores with annual retail sales of more than $800 million, according to the company.
MARY-KATEANDASHLEY BY MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN
Doors: 3,000 (est.)
Wonder twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, both 20 years old, have created an empire through this brand, which is run by Dualstar Entertainment Group. The collection is dedicated to the tween and teen markets and encompasses not only apparel — which is sold exclusively through Wal-Mart stores — but cosmetics, fragrances, home videos, books, music, video games and dolls. Popular apparel items in the collection include chiffon tops, embellished denim jackets, embroidered skirts and print blouses.
G-UNIT BY 50 CENT
This two-year-old label, developed by 50 Cent and owned by Marc Ecko Enterprises, has evolved from a logo-driven collection to one that relies on other quality trends (such as prints and key colors) to raise its brand awareness. The women’s line features denim, T-shirts, skirts, knit tops, woven tops and outerwear. Paul Boyea, president of G-Unit Clothing Co., said, “You cannot rely on just a name — you have to have the product.” Regarding its future, the company stated: “G-Unit is well positioned because the design team understands that it’s all about satisfying consumers’ expectations with innovative trends.”
HOUSE OF DEREON BY BEYONCE KNOWLES
It’s the house that Beyoncé built. The brand, created by Knowles and her mother, Tina, launched in 2005 and was inspired by Tina’s mother, the late Agnes Deréon. According to the company, current bestsellers include the Private D dress, the Bijoux Luxe hoodie and the Captain D-Luv reversible hoodie. The brand also includes accessories, such as handbags, hats, belts, gloves and scarves. In addition to its entrance to all major department stores this fall, the brand is launching Deréon girls (in sizes ranging from 2 to 16) and infants for holiday 2007.
DAISY FUENTES BY DAISY FUENTES
Doors: 800 (est.)
In January 2004, Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl’s Corp. revealed plans to unveil a new contemporary line, exclusive to the retailer, with fashion model and TV personality Daisy Fuentes. The company had been looking for a recognizable face to appeal to Kohl’s broad range of female shoppers. Said Fuentes in a release at the time: “My new line consists of modern options that make looking stylish simple.” As well as apparel items such as knit tops, wrap dresses and jeans, the collection features cosmetics, fragrances, shoes, watches and jewelry.
L.A.M.B. BY GWEN STEFANI
Selling her collection in high-end stores such as Fred Segal, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel and Intermix has elevated Stefani’s L.A.M.B. status to a luxury brand, claimed the company. The pop superstar’s four-year-old clothing line has passed the $100 million mark in sales. Her highly publicized fragrance, L, will launch Sept. 1, and WWD noted in March: “In addition to Stefani’s best-selling handbag collection, she’s hard at work designing watches and shoes.” Eyewear, denim and innerwear will be added next year.
WILLIAM RAST BY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Doors: 229 (est.)
Call it a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. The William Rast clothing line, which began in 2005, was developed by Daniel Guez in collaboration with Justin Timberlake and his childhood friend (from his Tennessee days), Trace Ayala. The contemporary brand (whose name was derived from Timberlake and Ayala’s grandfathers’ names) is owned by Los Angeles-based People’s Liberation and includes denim, knits, wovens, outerwear and accessories for both women and men. In the U.S., products are sold at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as well as smaller boutiques and specialty retailers.
EDUN BY BONO
Launched in spring 2005, this socially conscious contemporary line was created by U2 lead singer Bono; his wife, Ali Hewson, and New York clothing designer Rogan Gregory. Edun — “nude” spelled backwards — is a collection for both women and men that includes tops, bottoms, denim, dresses, jackets and sweaters. The company stated that popular items this year include knits and wovens, such as the Gertrude Cardigan (the number-one seller this season), the Eyre V-Neck and graphic Ts.
J’AIME BY JAIME PRESSLY
Doors: 111 (est.)
This contemporary women’s knit line was created by Jaime Pressly, of the hit series “My Name Is Earl.” Pressly told WWD in October: “I’m not just another actress doing another clothing line. Fashion has been a passion for me since I was a child.” Latest looks include wrap, V-neck, Empire and tank dresses; tunics; hoodies; capri pants; miniskirts, and tops. Pressly wants to eventually add accessories and possibly children’s wear, as well. “We’re definitely growing the brand. There will be more categories in the next 12 to 18 months,” she said.
JLO BY JENNIFER LOPEZ
Is there anything Jennifer Lopez doesn’t do? The pop superstar-actress-dancer-designer’s line, JLO by Jennifer Lopez, is currently sold in only 100 doors (fragrances are much more widely distributed — in approximately 2,500 U.S. department store doors). While it has experienced ups and downs at retail, the brand pointed out it has been selective with its number of doors, especially as there continues to be a push to expand the brand internationally. In the meantime, Lopez’s justsweet line will bow at the end of July and will contain a heavy denim presence. That brand will be available nationally at first and will eventually expand globally.