Recession’s Next Victim: Celeb Fashion Lines

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Turns out that celebrities, while possibly good at singing and entertaining—or possibly good simply at being famous—aren’t naturals with needle, thread, and design. Who would have guessed?

Fashion lines tied to celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Mandy Moore, and reality star Heidi Montag are either doing poorly or have disappeared altogether, per the WSJ. It’s unclear whether the clothing lines failed due to the recession or because marketers were unsuccessful in connecting with the key sight-impaired consumer group as they had hoped. A great quote from the story:

“Every D-level celebrity who thought they could make a quick buck by designing a handbag or whatever is going to disappear,” says Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. “And I think that’s a good thing.”

It also seems to be a good thing (for consumers if not designers) that high-end fashion is experiencing a “redefining moment,” as the NY Times puts it.

Designer fashion — the creative wellspring of the American apparel industry, the engine of style magazines, the stuff of plain old dreams — is experiencing a serious case of the blues. As another show season rolls out across the city, against the chilliest retail climate in years, many believe this is not merely a difficult moment for high-end fashion but a defining one as well…

Here is the reality: More and more people shop at H & M and other purveyors of cheap chic. Factories offering fine craftsmanship in Italy and New York are closing as business moves to China. Consumers do not see longevity in the clothes they buy. “I think the true designer business is in trouble, no question about it,” said a senior buying executive at Macy’s, declining to speak on the record because of the company’s policies.

While celebrity fashion lines are fading, at least one celeb famous for being famous (and some acting, too) is making some money off of the industry, per the Times:

This week the situation reached a nadir of sorts when the Paris house Emanuel Ungaro — once the pride and joy of the Upper East Side — announced that it had hired Lindsay Lohan as its artistic adviser.