by Candy Washington
What do Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Miley Cyrus and M.I.A., all have in common? They are among the myriad of young music moguls who think they can hack it as fashion designers. Whether you are sitting front row during fashion week or perusing the aisles at Wal-Mart, you can find fashion lines from your favorite singers and musicians. These days performers virtually jump straight from your play-list and into your closet. And no, that wasn't a typo in the previous sentence, a lá Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (pre-The Row and Elizabeth & James days, of course), Miley Cyrus is debuting her designer skills at Wal-Mart and has enlisted the aid of Max Azria himself of Hervé Léger, BCBG and Max Azria notoriety, to co-design the line. Designer duds at a discount? Whodda thunk it? Ha. Can you sense my sarcasm? Target and H&M have been doing this for years. And oh yeah, Taylor Swift is coming out with her own line for Wal-Mart as well.
Since celebrities are constantly trying to expand their empires, fashion seems the next logic step on their journeys to rule the world, but some should stick to their day jobs headlining for Madison Square Garden and bypass their Bryant Park endeavors. With so many singers/designers out there, how do you know which ones are legit? Fret no more my fashion friends, I have found the best (and worst) musicians who also dabble in fashion.
Who struck the right chords in their fashion lines?
L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani: Gwen not only remains true to her rocker yet romantic musical motif, but her line is even named after her first-ever solo album, Love, Angel, Music, Baby, brilliantly tying her music to her fashion. This line has also stood the test of time, as most celeb-turned-designer lines fizzle (think Heidi Montag's Heidiwood line for Blue Anchor), L.A.M.B. has been around and thriving for the past five years, with the recent launch of its 2009 Fall/Winter collection. From plaid tops, cropped jackets, billowy pants, nude jumpers, and striped tunics, this is one musically-inspired line that is not to be missed. And who could forget her beloved Harajuku girls? They were fashionably divine as well.
Kanye West for Louis Vuitton: This may have been the most hyped up shoe line debut since the classic white Converse high-top, but Kanye delivers on his fashion promise. Even before the sneakers hit the stores, they were already sold-out. Perhaps this was due to its highly anticipated launch or the provocative advertising campaigns Kanye did with his model-girlfriend, Amber Rose, but either way, his marketing scheme worked and this lyrical master has mastered the art of beautiful shoe design. My favorite pick is the all-red, rubber-esque high-top.
Pete Wentz's Clandestine Industries: His collection is just as cool, hip and metrosexual as he is – the line includes unisex clothes as well as men, women, and kids sizes . Next to Jared Leto, he is definitely one of the hottest guys sporting black eyeliner. I digress, back to his über-laid-back fashion line that includes printed tees, hoodies, socks, backpacks, cell phone skins, shot glasses and more. Did I mention that his line is also eco-friendly and uses organic fabrics? This up-and-coming fashion line is definitely one to check-out with its unique designs at reasonable prices. He even just collaborated with DKNY with Clandestine Industries for DKNY Jeans for which he stars in the advertising campaign.
And now for fashionably tone-death.
J.Lo and Sweetface by Jennifer Lopez: She may be Jenny from the block, but when it comes to any type of creativity, her fashion lines are just plain road-blocked. Both lines fall prey to the stereotypical pitfalls of urban fashion lines: lots of glitz, glam, and sparkle, but are poorly manufactured, the materials are cheap, and the design concept is lackluster to say the least. Sweetface is even on hold as J. Lo's camp is scrambling to find a new direction for the wayward brand. Jenny, take a cue from reputable lines like Jay-Z's Rocawear and Kimora Lee Simmons' Baby Phat that possess just the right combination of bling and ingenuity with the perfect splash of class.
dVb Jeans by Victoria Beckman: Hmm... as if any real girl could even fit into her jeans! Victoria designs a line of denim jeans ranging from skinny, boot-cut and cropped styles. This line leaves much to be desired from a design stand-point, there is nothing particularly notable about the line at all. Just like the robotic Victoria herself, her line just falls flat.
Mblem by Mandy Moore: Who even knew she had a clothing line? Her line looks like it walked right off the pages of an Alloy magazine, geared toward teens and pre-teens going through their awkward stage. But aren't clothes suppose to help us through our teeny bopper years and not make us look dumpy? And to add insult to injury, apparently the future of the line is in jeopardy due to squabbling between Mandy and her manager. Mandy if you are listening: hire Kanye's pr team, take some design lessons from Gwen, and add some personality to your line like Pete.
Miley and Taylor, I hope you're taking notes.
Pete Wentz photos: LC Libra, Inc.
Gwen Stefani: No-Doubt.net
Kanye West: sneakers from Design You Trust and pic with Marc from O So Chic Blog