In 1985, actress Jaclyn Smith put her name on a brand of clothing for Kmart. Who knew she was on to something big? Fast-forward 23 years, and the number of celebrities with their own fashion lines could fill People magazine. These days, Smith is overshadowed by the Olsen sisters, Beyonce Knowles, Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake, Victoria Beckham, Lauren Conrad and a dozen other singers and actors who have signed apparel deals.
Others said to be interested in dipping a toe in the fashion pool include Matthew McConaughey, Katie Holmes, Miley Cyrus and Michael Jackson. While a few celebrities are more involved in design decisions than others, most seem content to stay out of the way and relish the cash and the publicity that come from their name and face being tied to a brand. Name recognition doesn’t automatically ring up sales, though. Clothing lines by Scarlett Johansson and Mandy Moore unraveled. Even Jennifer Lopez and Sean "Diddy” Combs struggle with their apparel collections at times. Still, celebrity designer lines are lucrative and popular. I check out such clothes and accessories because it’s part of my job, and I am interested. I’m most impressed with Jessica Simpson shoes, but I wouldn’t buy a pair just because they have her name on them. Perhaps I’m the exception. David Wolfe, creative director of the Donegar Group, a New York-based trend forecasting company, said he feels that the proliferation of celebrity designer lines is a result of a lack of clear direction in fashion. "Because there are so many trends, so many looks and everything seems to be ‘in,’ the average shopper is confused.