The Red Carpet Fashion Biz

Ever wonder why clothing designers and jewelers loan their products to celebrities who walk the red carpets? Ever wonder why stars are so quick to name names?  It all boils down to one thing:  money.

A full page ad in a fashion magazine like W or Vogue can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  The ads are seen by millions of fashion subscribers who may or may not remember the merchandise once they’ve flipped through the pages.

Conversely, when design houses drop tens of thousands to dress an A-list celebrity for the Oscars or Emmys, pictures of the star and who she’s wearing are splashed across the globe and remembered for years.  It’s a very lucrative use of the marketing budget that pays for itself many times over – even in recessionary times.  Regular people like to wear what celebrities wear, whether it’s the real thing or a “celebrity-inspired” knockoff.  It’s a pop culture phenomenon.

But the practice has come under fire in recent years.  What was once a “I’ll let you wear my merchandise if you mention my name” exchange has turned into, “If you wear my merchandise and mention my name, I’ll give you $100,000” type business.  This takes the personal style factor right out of it as celebrities seek to pad their pockets.  It also keeps up-in-coming new talent out of the mix because they can’t afford to compete.

Still, I don’t see it stopping any time soon.  Fashion is a business, after all, and the Red Carpet Biz is particularly profitable.  It will only stop when it ceases to be profitable…

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