George Clooney tuxedos? Taylor Swift flirty dresses?
This story first appeared in the December 15, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WWD asked industry executives who in the worlds of celebrity, music and sports is ripe for a major apparel deal. Replies ranged from Eddie Redmayne, the 32-year-old English star of “The Theory of Everything,” to Taylor Swift, the red-hot 24-year-old singer and songwriter.
More celebrities are seeking a big piece of the action, and it’s no longer a strict licensing deal, with royalty payments and minimums to meet. Ellen DeGeneres, for example, has partnered with J. Christopher Burch of Burch Creative to launch E.D., which will encompass categories from home to fashion to chic wares for dogs and cats.
Global Brands Group recently struck a wide-sweeping deal with former soccer star David Beckham, creating a partnership that will build scalable brands globally around iconic stars in sports and entertainment. Beckham will have an ownership stake in his new partnership.
“Throughout my career I’ve had quite a few sponsorship deals, but this takes it to a different level, a different area. I’ve gone from being in a sponsorship deal to now becoming an owner,” said Beckham at the press conference to unveil the partnership.
Other high-profile apparel deals forged this year ranged from Kerry Washington’s “Scandal” line for The Limited to Carrie Underwood’s fitness collection for Dick’s Sporting Goods and Melissa McCarthy’s as-of-yet unnamed line that she is doing in partnership with Gerard Guez’s Sunrise Brands. It will include a fashion collection for women of all sizes, accessories and beauty products.
These new deals join such stalwarts as Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Victoria Beckham, Sean Combs and Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen — celebrity designers who have proven to have staying power. But while these and other stars have succeeded in the challenging apparel and beauty worlds, there are dozens who have been merely a flash in the pan.
Here’s who industry executives said are ripe for the picking, and could have a shot at having a successful clothing line under their own name.
SAM SHAHID, OWNER, SHAHID & CO.
“My choice would be Eddie Redmayne. There’s something so fresh about him. Everybody wants him to be a friend of theirs. He has a great presence. He’s likely to be your best buddy and best friend. He’s very dynamic. He walks into a room and all heads turn. He has that magnetic field. Everybody can connect to him. He has that collegiate look about him, and you want to be a part of his team. The name ‘Eddie’ is also a great name.”
CHARLES DECARO, CO-CREATIVE DIRECTOR, LASPATA DECARO
“George Clooney would be the perfect person to do tuxedos. He’s such an amazing person with such style. People do value his opinions and his sense of what he’s accomplished. He’d be a perfect candidate. It would be very expensive. A line of George Clooney clothing could certainly resonate more than a line of Donald Trump clothing. George is chic, understated and is very respected, and I think that brand would resonate with consumers.”
SIMON DOONAN, BARNEYS CREATIVE AMBASSADOR
“There’s a new English actor, Tom Hughes, star of ‘The Game’ on BBC America. Everybody’s talking about this new guy. Whether he will end up checking as many boxes as David Beckham is open to question. He can wear anything, and he looks good in a jacket. He’s astoundingly good looking, and could clearly be the next Eddie Redmayne. He’s already full-on. A lot of fashion is obsessed with this guy. He is ripe for the picking. He’s tall, exceptionally good looking. He’s extremely charismatic and has major screen presence.
“Taylor Swift. She could completely do whatever she wants in apparel. It just has to be strategic. The context has to be right. The world is her oyster. She checks a lot of boxes. She’s smart, she’s likable. Her song, ‘Shake it Off’ is an empowerment song. She’s a positive force. She looks good in a frock. Why doesn’t she do apparel?” (Five years ago, Swift teamed up with L.E.I. to design sundresses for Wal-Mart for one season, and she currently has a line for Keds.)
TREY LAIRD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND CREATIVE OFFICER, LAIRD + PARTNERS
“I guess the most obvious answer for me would be Rihanna. She has such a strong and unique sense of style that feels very relevant for many young women today. She mixes high and low, street and sport, to full-on runway glamour — and always adds her own personal touch to every aspect of her style. She is inspiring and authentically herself — both of which are qualities that are required for modern brands to succeed, celebrity or otherwise.”
(Rihanna had a collaboration last year with River Island, a U.K. fast-fashion retailer, and is rumored to be talking with Puma about a seven-figure footwear deal.)
KIM VERNON, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THE VERNON CO.
“Cara Delevingne. She is one of the most popular young women. She’s blowing the word ‘model’ away. She sings in the Chanel video with Pharrell. She did a capsule for DKNY. To me, Cara is a celebrity. She’s got Kate Moss hands down. She [Cara] has 8.7 million Instagram followers. I find her a phenomenon. She’s becoming ubiquitous but nobody minds. She’s the face of Burberry, Mulberry and DKNY. I think she can sell anything. She can create a collection and pick who her partner is. She has a committed following of women and young guys who love who she is. She’s not pretentious and she’s fun.”
Taylor Swift. “She’s got the bandwidth. She could easily be doing dresses or prom dresses. It comes down to ‘how much can I do right now?’”
Rihanna: “If she doesn’t have a deal, she’d be great. She’s already considered a fashion icon. She could sell just about anything to any target. She has a real following. She won’t be skewing to older females but to younger, urban, trendy women. You can see her doing fast fashion, in a way people want to have lots of her stuff.”
DAVID WOLFE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, THE DONEGER GROUP
“I think the hot men’s wear guy at the moment to consider is Eddie Redmayne. He’s constantly modeling in GQ, He looks great and he’s hot. He’d be great for an apparel deal.
“Taylor Swift is bankable. Anything with her name is a license to print money right now.”
Viola Davis: “I think she’s hot and sexy and her wardrobe in ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ is so noticeable. She wears a skinny, tight sheath as a lawyer and she’s a hot, sexy bomb and she’s also not a kid.”
ROBERT BURKE, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROBERT BURKE & ASSOCIATES
“I know there have been smaller deals, but a bigger deal for Pharrell [Williams] would make a lot of sense. He’s at the forefront of everything. I see some clothing and accessories play here, much broader than a shoe deal or a one-off collaboration. He has so much style and he’s everywhere. He has a broad appeal. That’s really the key. It needs to be aspirational and broad enough to move the needle to make it worthwhile.” (Williams has clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club, Billionaire Girls Club and Ice Cream and has deals with Moncler, Adidas, Uniqlo and G-Star Raw.)
“I vote Rihanna, she’s up and coming. She has the appeal and a certain style. It’s a little bit Nasty Girl. She would resonate.”
ANDREW JASSIN, CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, JASSIN CONSULTING
“I think Pharrell Williams is the most likely to have an apparel line [under his own name]. He’s iconic, people like to work with him and he’s got Millennials and older people looking at him. He’s a great style icon, is soft-spoken and he’s going to make a difference.
“I also like Shakira because she’s Latino and Middle Eastern and she’s an incredible style icon.”