In the last decade, the Kardashian-Jenner-West families have proven they’re a force to be reckoned with both in the entertainment arena where they began and in the fashion and beauty industries, where several have built empires that compete with some of the biggest brands in the market.
The reality television family — Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Rob, Kendall, Kylie, Kylie, matriarch Kris, not to mention rapper Kanye West — has remained a fixture in the cultural lexicon since the early Aughts, and have leveraged that fame to create some of the most successful fashion and beauty brands of the decade.
From their early, unsuccessful ventures to reaching $1 billion status, here WWD looks back at the evolution of the Kardashian-Jenner-West fashion and beauty empire.
The Kardashian Threesome: Kim, Khloé and Kourtney
As their reality television career was taking off, the three eldest Kardashian sisters began working together to carve a place for themselves in the fashion and beauty worlds. Most notably, in 2006 the sisters created Dash, a boutique with locations in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Southampton, where they had a summertime pop-up shop in 2014. The store was the inspiration behind the E Network’s reality T.V. show “Dash Dolls,” — a spin-off of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” — where the sisters’ friends, Khadijah and Malika Haqq, worked at the Los Angeles boutique.
In addition to Dash, the sisters had a number of other fashion ventures. In 2010, the trio teamed up with Australian designer Bruno Schiavi’s Jupi Corp. to create a ready-to-wear collection. At the same time, the Kardashians linked with QVC to create K-Dash, a line of contemporary sportswear, teamed up with Bebe for a collection inspired by streetwear trends and launched Kardashian Kollection at 700 Sears locations.
The Kardashians were just as busy in the beauty space.
In 2012, the sisters launched Khroma Beauty with Boldface Licensing + Branding. The line launched at Ulta Beauty with 60 products across the eye, lip, face and nail categories, later expanding distribution to Duane Reade, CVS and Sears locations. The brand faced a number of legal issues, including a lawsuit filed by Kroma Makeup, stating that the Kardashians’ line violated copyright infringement because of the similarity in names. The sisters later changed the name of the brand to Kardashian Beauty and collaborated with Farouk Systems to enter hair care, which is still available for purchase at retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
The sisters were then involved with Haven Beauty, which developed into another legal hiccup. In 2016, Hillair Capital Management, which was behind the license agreement, sued the Kardashians for breach of contract, alleging they failed to promote the makeup brand. The sisters countersued, ultimately winning $10 million from their former business partner.
The Kardashians, plus their younger sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, also launched apps in 2015 where they would post behind-the-scenes photos, beauty tutorials and personal content. However, as their social media following continued to grow, the sisters revealed last year that they would be shutting all of their respective apps.
Most of the Kardashian sisters’ prior fashion and beauty partnerships are over, and their Dash boutiques have since closed their doors. Nonetheless, the trio has continued building their fashion and beauty ventures, but have done so separately.
Kim Kardashian West
Ditching a licensing partner, Kim Kardashian West embarked on her own beauty line in 2017, called KKW Beauty, starting her brand off with a Crème Contour & Highlight Kit, which generated $14.4 million in sales upon launch. Marking her first solo venture in the beauty space, Kardashian West quickly grew the brand — thanks in part to her 145 million and growing Instagram follower base — expanding into all makeup categories, including body makeup.
Not finished tackling the beauty industry, Kardashian West then launched a fragrance brand later in the year, called KKW Fragrance. She introduced the brand with a trio of fragrances inspired by healing crystals. The initial launch also generated $14.3 million in sales.
Although Kardashian West launched her beauty lines with relative success, she was met with criticism when she introduced her first fashion brand, Kimono. Kardashian West teased the upcoming shapewear brand on her Instagram account, showing that the line includes various bras, bodysuits and underwear offered in nine nude shades. While the brand’s name is a play on her own name, there was immediate social media backlash with many — including the mayor of Kyoto, Japan — accusing her of cultural appropriation.
In July, Kardashian West said that she would be renaming the brand before its launch, revealing the next month that the shapewear line will launch on Sept. 10 under the name, Skims.
Although she shut down her app last year, Kardashian West’s game, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” is still up and running and features fashion designs from Karl Lagerfeld and Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain.
Khloé Kardashian ventured into denim in 2016, working with fashion executive Emma Grede to launch Good American. The line of jeans was created with body inclusivity in mind, offering multiple styles in sizes ranging from zero to 24. Good American has branched into other types of apparel, including dresses, activewear and maternity clothing.
In 2017, the brand teamed with VFiles to offer mentorship to young designers showing at the brand’s runway show during New York Fashion Week. The brand also hosted a pop-up shop at VFiles SoHo store as part of the partnership.
Doing something different from her sisters, Kourtney Kardashian created Poosh, a lifestyle web site that launched earlier this year. In an interview with WWD in April, Kardashian explained that the site is for “the modern woman,” and will cover topics including health, wellness, beauty, fashion, interior decor and kids, among other topics.
“The modern woman, in my opinion, is somebody who cares about the planet, cares about what we’re putting in our bodies from the inside out, and just doing our best without feeling judged for not being perfect,” she said. “Just because we care about those things or want to be eating healthy or living a certain lifestyle, you can still be cool and sexy and have it all. I don’t want it to feel judgmental, just really like a conversation.”
Since its launch, Kardashian has added e-commerce to the site, partnering with ingestible supplement brand Vital Proteins to create two collagen-based powders. She also teamed with S’Well for a limited-edition, Poosh branded water bottle that benefits Oceana, an ocean advocacy organization.
Kylie and Kendall Jenner
The two youngest sisters of the Kardashian-Jenner clan also stuck together at the beginning of their fashion and beauty careers. The sisters’ first partnership came as a family in 2011 with a collaboration with nail brand Nicole by OPI to create the Kardashian Kolors collection. Within the collection, the Jenner sisters had a number of nail polishes named after them, including All Kendall-ed Up, Wear Something Spar-Kylie, Rainbow in the S-Kylie and Kendall on the Katwalk.
Two years later, the sisters teamed with PacSun to create their contemporary fashion line, which launched with a 26-piece spring collection at 644 locations. The collection included chambray shirts, high-waisted shorts, denim and bandeaus, among other apparel. During the same year, the Jenners also collaborated with Steve Madden’s Madden Girl, where they helped create a handbag and shoe collection.
The sisters later inked a deal with Topshop to take the brand globally to the British retailer’s locations. The partnership launched in the summer of 2015 with a capsule collection that reflected the Jenner’s Los Angeles style.
The sisters made their modeling debuts as teenagers. Kylie Jenner’s turn came at the Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne show in September 2011. In the same year, Kendall Jenner made her runway debut during New York Fashion Week, walking at the Sherri Hill show.
While she’s the youngest of the family, Kylie Jenner was the first to launch a mega successful business: Kylie Cosmetics. Jenner introduced the line in fall 2015 with three shades of her now-signature Kylie Lip Kits. After just 18 months in business, WWD reported that Kylie Cosmetics generated $420 million in sales and is on track to become a $1 billion brand by 2022.
Jenner is said to be in talks with Coty Inc. for the beauty conglomerate to purchase a majority stake in the brand for $600 million, according to industry sources.
Unsatisfied with just dominating color cosmetics, Jenner launched Kylie Skin in May. Since launch, the brand has expanded from its initial range of six facial skin-care products to now include body-care products. Jenner is also gearing up to launch a hair-care line and a baby line, filing trademarks for both brands in May.
Kendall Jenner’s modeling career soared after her runway debut. She has become one of the most recognizable models of her generation, walking the runways of Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Alexander Wang and Balmain, among others.
Jenner has also been tapped for a number of brand campaigns, including Calvin Klein, Estée Lauder’s now-defunct Millennial brand Estée Edit, Runway Series and La Perla, to name a few.
Despite her star power, Jenner has faced a number of controversies throughout her modeling career. Most notably, Jenner’s Pepsi commercial from 2017 where the model is seen joining a peaceful protest handing a police officer a Pepsi can. There was immediate social media backlash to the ad, with many claiming it downplayed the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jenner also came under fire earlier this year when she was named the newest face of acne brand Proactiv, with many questioning the authenticity of the partnership considering Jenner has access to some of the best — and most expensive — dermatologists and skin-care products. Jenner’s mother, Kris Jenner, also became involved in the scandal when she posted a teaser of her daughter’s campaign stating she was proud of Jenner for sharing her “most raw story in order to make a positive impact for so many people and help foster a positive dialogue.”
Aside from her modeling career, Jenner is quietly following her sisters’ entrepreneurial footsteps. According to industry sources, Jenner holds a stake in Moon, an oral-care brand that launched in May, which she also serves as the face of. Jenner also filed a trademark to create a namesake beauty line during the same month.
Along with his musical chops, Kanye West has long-touted his fashion design abilities, telling WWD in 2007 that if he didn’t go into music he would be a fashion designer considering he’s “been designing things since the fourth grade.”
In 2009, West took a deep dive into the fashion world, taking on an internship at Fendi, where he met his now-close collaborator and friend Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director and designer of Off-White. The year also marked West’s first collaboration with a luxury design house, collaborating with Louis Vuitton on a collection of sneakers. Featured in Louis Vuitton’s fall 2009 men’s show, West helped create the Don, a multi-colored suede basketball sneaker, the Jasper, a high-top sneaker, and the Mr. Hudson, a boat shoe featuring a tassel embellishment.
Nike also linked with West to create his first iteration of the Yeezy sneaker, marking the first time the brand collaborated on a sneaker with a non-athlete. The Air Yeezy 1 was initially in three colorways and sold out immediately upon its release in the spring. West teamed with Nike again for the Air Yeezy 2 sneakers, but later split with the company.
While his designer collaborations were taking off, West’s own fashion line, Pastelle — which he started developing in 2007 — was coming to an end. Pastelle was an ambitious project for West, who enlisted the likes of Abloh, Dior Men artistic director Kim Jones and fashion designer Don C, among others, to assist with the brand’s creation. In 2008, West sat front row at Dior’s men’s spring show in a hoodie rumored to be from Pastelle and later an editorial styled by Jones featuring Pastelle clothing appeared in VMAN, both increasing hype for the brand among consumers.
With no new developments and an uncertain launch date, momentum for Pastelle halted. West’s Los Angeles office closed and all plans seemingly were scrapped. It was revealed in 2009 that the brand was shuttering.
Undeterred by the failure of his first fashion brand, West leveraged his star power and partnered with Adidas to create his streetwear brand, Yeezy. Debuting at New York Fashion Week in 2015, West’s collection was received with much acclaim, showing the clothing on a diverse cast of 50 models, many of whom were street cast.
West’s credibility as a fashion designer was on the rise with each collection he showed, until Yeezy Season 4. Logistical information for the show was scant until only hours before the show, where the rapper shepherded scores of editors, critics and show-goers to New York’s Roosevelt Island, essentially holding them captive in the scorching heat for hours until the show began. The heat led to multiple models also collapsing on the runway. The show ultimately received scathing reviews.
The rapper then went back to a more traditional runway format for the following Season 5 collection, and went a different route for the presentation of Season 6. Instead of hosting a runway show, West presented the collection on wife Kim Kardashian West, who was seen around Los Angeles in multiple paparazzi shots wearing Yeezy’s streetwear collection, many of which appeared on her own Instagram.
Despite the controversy, West’s line has remained popular among consumers with his sneakers selling out immediately and going for thousands of dollars on resale web sites and his looks created for his wife routinely re-created by fast-fashion brands.
According to Forbes, West’s Yeezy line is expected to hit $1.5 billion in sales this year.
West is continuing his fashion empire with a brand new clothing line, Sunday Service. Named after the weekly gospel concerts he hosts at his home, West filed a trademark for the brand in July to create a line of apparel.
Often overshadowed by his famous sisters, Rob Kardashian has also played his hand at fashion design. In 2012, launched Arthur George, a collection of men’s socks at Neiman Marcus.
“Socks are something I’ve always been passionate about,” he said to WWD. “I have friends who own streetwear companies and they ask me to pick out anything I want and I only go for the socks.”
In addition to his sock brand, Kardashian unveiled another venture this year, called Halfway Dead. Teaming with Diamond Supply’s Nick Tershay, the streetwear brand offers direct-to-consumer unisex clothing including graphic t-shirts, sweaters, socks and hats. The brand has plans to host pop-up shops this year.
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