2016/05/26

WHEN CELEBS AND BRANDS COLLIDE | GUEST POST BY LOUISA

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In many ways, the celebrity is the ultimate human brand. If celebrities can perfectly 
time their moves for maximum press coverage, market themselves by always appearing 
flawless and (perhaps most notably) convert their hours into crazy sums of cash.

The fashion world and the celebrity world have always intermingled, but social media is 
providing celebrities new platforms for promoting their own wares themselves (where 
once a Public Relations team would have taken charge) and it seems as though everyone 
who is anyone is riding the wave! 

Celebrity collaborations aren't new (does anyone remember when the Kardashians 
did a range for Dorothy Perkins back in the day?!) But how connected are these 
collaborations with the celebrity name attached to them? And why should we favour 
them to regular high street collections? 

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The first thing to bear in mind about celebrity collaborations is the amount of input 
the celebrity actually has in developing the range. Much of the time their involvement 
is that of giving their 'seal of approval' to items drawn up according to a lose brief they've 
given. 

The one collaboration type you can be sure involved both parties to a full extent are those 
forged between the High Street and High End designers who have a firm grip on their 
creative output. Otherwise the collaboration could purely be a licensing deal that the 
'Face Of' may never even have seen or signed off on, let alone worn themselves.

Secondly, it's worth questioning the business practice of these collaborations. It sounds 
obvious to say, but having this big names and large sums of cash attached to a project
does not guarantee the fair treatment of workers creating the items.

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Recently the internet blew up with the allegations that Beyonce's "Ivy Park" range of 
active-wear had been created with sweatshop labour. 
Now, this hardly comes as a surprise 
to those of us who know the practices of high street baddies like Topshop, but Beyonce? 
Really?! 

Her rhetoric of female empowerment will be seriously questioned if it turns out that 
these allegations are true. The brand statement that Ivy Park is a brand that aims to make 
women feel powerful leaves a bitter taste in the mouth in the knowledge that those who 
produced the garments are locked into the factory and paid a pittance.

So should we be queuing up overnight for celebrity collaborations? Well, if you're going 
to whack them straight on eBay and turn a profit on them my inner businesswoman says 
GO FOR IT, but on an individual basis I would ask you to sit down and contemplate 
WHY you're so turned onto the idea of a celebrity collaboration.

Is it really about the clothes? They are made in exactly the same way as all other 
high street collections, they go through the same (often morally questionable) supply 
chain and end up on the same shelves. 

What if we are so obsessed with celebrity collaborations because we want to embody 
the spirit of people like Beyonce, Rihanna or Kanye through their clothing? I personally 
believe if we focus more of the strength, power or sheer self-confidence of our 
favourite idols, rather than clothes cobbled together in their image, we would 
have more to gain from our celeb crushes.

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