Celebrity Fashion Brands – What It Takes to Build an Empire

What does it take to build a celebrity fashion brand – or any brand, for that matter?

Time, effort, and a MASSIVE support team.

That’s the conclusion I’ve come to watching some of these reality show divas.  Lots of people say they want to be rich and famous. . . but to actually do what it takes?  Way too much work!

Now granted, a lot of “reality” TV is actually staged and most of the shows that are on are just plain dumb, but I do follow a few of them, mostly about fashion.  These include:

The Rachel Zoe Project (Bravo TV)

Rachel Zoe is a celebrity fashion stylist who’s become almost as famous as the people she styles. Top designers know her by name.  Demi Moore knows when her anniversary is.  Harper’s Bazaar has her on speed dial.  The list goes on and on.

The show follows her and her team as they put together fashion shoots, fashion shows, and track down “major” dresses for awards season.  Every time she travels to New York, Paris, or Milan for fashion shows, she takes a TON of luggage – she must pay a fortune in excess bags fees!  When I see her pack, shop, or go through her bulging closets, I keep thinking I should send her a copy of Wardrobe Magic so she can learn how to build clothing capsules and get rid of all that excess.  I mean, how much Chanel does one person really need?

But you can’t deny that she’s a hard worker.

It’s fun to watch her go to the fashion shows, chat with designers, create red carpet “moments” for her clients, and style photo shoots.  The picture of Demi Moore feeding a giraffe on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar was amazing (except for the shoes).  Who thinks of this stuff?  It was cool!

Then there’s the brand building.  Rachel’s making perfume, picks her favorites on Piperlime, launched a line on QVC, wrote a book, and has a TV show – on TOP of her day job.  She doesn’t eat or sleep much – and unfortunately, it shows.

Still, if you’re addicted to fashion, you’ll really enjoy this show.

Kimora:  Life in the Fab Lane (MyStyle)

Kimora Lee Simmons is a fashion model turned fashion mogul who, along with her ex-husband, music producer Russell Simmons, started the Baby Phat fashion label in 1998 (it’s the sister clothing line of Russell’s Phat Farm men’s clothing).  I didn’t know much about Kimora before watching the show, other than reading a magazine article in which she seemed very spoiled, but after a watching an episode of “Fab Lane” earlier this year, I was hooked.

Kimora lives an “over the top” life, but she also works VERY hard doing it.  She’s divorced from and has two young daughters by Simmons, is married actor Dijmon Hounsou and has a son with him, and now runs her New York company from her Los Angeles home.

It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!

But somehow, she manages to find some balance.  She may live in opulence and run a multi-million dollar company, but she still makes time to take her girls back to school shopping and jog while pushing her son’s stroller.  She goes from nursing the baby to showing models how to walk the runway to giving live TV interviews in the span of about an hour.  I was exhausted just watching her.

Her perspective is much different than Rachel Zoe’s in that Kimora’s producing a physical product.  You see the meetings, the offices, the visits to suppliers, the picking the models, the creating ads, writing the books, etc.  It’s all the stuff that happens before the Rachel Zoes of the world get hold of it.

The pace is unrelenting.  Lots of deadlines, lots of pressure.  If you’re thinking about launching a label, watch “Life in the Fab Lane.”  You’ll soon realize that it involves long hours of hard work followed by short spurts of glamour and excitement.  Kind of like the restaurant business.

Bethenny Getting Married? (Bravo TV)

I’ve been hooked on the “Real Housewives of New York” since Simon took Alex shopping in St. Bart’s in Season One and dropped five figures on clothes for her one afternoon while he drank champagne and watched her model.  I was flabbergasted.  Do those kinds of men really exist?  And why didn’t they go to my school?

I started watching RHONY for the clothes, and stayed to watch Bethenny Frankel “cut to the chase” while wearing fabulous clothes.  For someone who supposedly couldn’t care less about fashion, she can come up with some pretty stunning ensembles.  Not every one’s a hit, mind you, but she definitely has some of the best “Kodak Moments” of the bunch.

All while she’s pregnant, planning her wedding, and building her “Skinny Girl“ brand.

Again, the amount of work is staggering.  Meetings, phone calls, recipes, photo shoots, books, interviews, personal appearances, TV show – when in the heck to these people sleep?!  Or do laundry?  Or watch TV?

Still, she’s a riot.  She borrowed a beautiful red sheath from designer Michael Kors for a TV interview and book signing and wanted to wear it to her baby shower two days later, before she returned it.  But it didn’t fit two days later, and running late with NO alternative on hand, she ended up wearing a sequin tunic as a dress instead.  The guests at the baby shower were like, “W-h-a-a-t?”  Hysterical!  She brushed it off and went on to the next thing, which is why she’s having the success she is.

So, if you still think fame and fortune should be in your life, take some time to watch some of these reality TV stars build their celebrity fashion brands.  It will truly give you a new perspective!

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