IT’S A MATTER OF MARKETING, a whole new world of smart new marketing. And, it involves celebrities who get in on the fashion act, and make the deal work. Madonna is just one of the newest recruits, having just inked a deal with Dolce & Gabbana to co-design sunglasses with the MDG logo. She is also in the process of cinching a deal with the Iconix Brand Group, Inc. to launch worldwide fashion related projects and possibly to make acquisitions.
–Not bad for the Material Girl who is also writing and directing a new film on Wally Simpson, the ultimate clotheshorse.
BUT, WHAT IS ALL THIS ABOUT Madonna and fashion? Will she be the latest celebrity to push big time into the design field, creating her own look and her own lines? Not really, says Neil Cole, chairman of Iconix, who is apparently excited about his new association with Madonna as a business associate, not a semi-real designer. While she will be designing some items, Cole says, “I see Madonna as a partner. I respect her as a marketer and innovator of pop culture.”
IN LOVE WITH MADONNA YOURSELF? HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS WORTHY OF HER NAME AND STYLE:
So…what’s this whole thing with celebrities and fashion? Well, we all know that celebrities give a line instant name recognition. But what is far more important now is the new world of marketing and the fact that big name individuals can give brands automatic potential shoppers via Facebook and Twitter. Just look at what Andy Sernovitz, author of “World of Mouth: How Smart Companies Get People Talking” has to say:
“Fashion is word of mouth. When you bring a celebrity into fashion, what they do is bring a pre-existing fan base.”
Here’s a good example: Shaun White, the Olympic Gold Medalist, has an extensive fashion line with Target. He also has 1.1 million friends on Facebook, The average person on Facebook has 100 friends. If Shaun posts “Hey, check out this jacket,” even if only 10 percent click on it, and they’ve got 100 friends each, you automatically reach 10 million people. Did you get that? 10 million people!
And, as one publication points out, Those 10 million aren’t just looking at an ad in a magazine, they are reading a referral from a friend.” Is that incredible? Those figures are not just impressive, they are astounding! No wonder the whole world of marketing is being turned upside down by modern computer popularity.
Music World and Fashion
Madonna isn’t the only graduate of the music world to enter fashion under the new marketing umbrella. J. Brand, the premium denim label, recently said its new private equity owner included Creative Artists Agency, suggesting that the Hollywood mega-agents might also be considering fashion tie-ups for their clients. A great combination!
AND, REMEMBER TWIGGY? Well, she now has an exclusive line on HSN called Twiggy London. Cindy Crawford has an exciting new jewelry line called One Kiss. It will be in J.C. Penney stores next month. Former U.K. model Erin Wasson is introducing a new jewelry line she claims to have designed; one way or the other, it carries her name and expectations are it will sell big time. The list goes on and on.
Not that all celebrity-named fashion projects have gone well. Some have hardly gotten off the ground before crashing in a cash-depleting puddle. Cole explains it by pointing out that consumers are really smart. “They are not going to buy something just because a celebrity’s name is on it,” he contends. That, he says is why he likes working with Madonna. “She is authentic. She is not going to put her name on anything that is not real.”
STILL, THE CELEBRITY LURE cannot be underestimated, and everyone from models and actresses to sports stars and reality TV faces are getting the message: The fashion world plus their name could be entry into mega bucks for them.
Sarah Jessica Parker is a new face at Halston, where she is both investor and chief creative officer. Party boy Pete Doherty is teaming up with British designer Hannah Martin on a new jewelry line. And even super-star Rihanna has suggested she might be interested in pursuing a fashion career in the near future.
But money isn’t the only end goal here. Many of the new lines are eco-friendly, aimed at making the environment cleaner and consumers more aware of the earth’s needs. Others are socially conscious in different ways. Mary J. Blige and Catherine Malandrino have a line of tops that benefit a musician’s charity. They are already fast at work adding accessories to the collection.
CELEBRITY FASHION ACCESSORIES CROSS OVER A BROAD RANGE OF DESIGN TYPES. HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS WITH BIG APPEAL: