Celebrity culture is dominating society more prevalently with each passing day. Celebrities influence everything from popular culture to politics and of course the fashion industry has taken note of this. Celebrity fashion designers are emerging at a more frequent rate. From pop-stars, to actors, to athletes and even reality tv stars, there is no form of celebrity that is not capitalized upon. The influence theses celebrities have on the sales of these products is immense, but it does not reflect the quality of the pieces. Some of these celebrities have total control over the designs, some just sell their name and have nothing to do with it and others are situated somewhere in between. With the increasing influence that celebrities are having over the design choices for their products, coupled with the cultural cache of being affiliated with a celebrity due to the ever increasing importance of celebrity culture, this results in un-innovative and in some cases unfashionable products becoming heavily in demand. Needless to say these products are predominantly aimed at the youth sector because of the influence of celebrity over them, as well as their disposable income. Does the increase of celebrity fashion designers affect the fashion industry as a whole or does it just result in young people being ripped off?
Kanye West is a prime example of a celebrity turned fashion designer whose influence greatly outweighs their talent. Many well respected and influential fashion critics have slammed Kanye’s “Yeezy” fashion line. The key complaints from many critics is the fact that the designs are basic, uninspired and that there is generally no real innovation what so-ever. Comments about West’s work generally consists of quotes like, ‘I just don’t understand why people are so in awe. [The models were] basically wearing stretch undergarments” ,”they wouldn’t bother with this stuff if it were offered by an unknown” and “I think the only thing dumber than these clothes would be the people who would buy these clothes.”
Above is an image of Kanye West wearing a hoodie he designed for “Yeezy season 2”. Viewing this image it is clear to see why the critics are saying what they are saying. It is a basic and simple design not dissimilar to a hoodie you could purchase at Kmart for $20, except it cost $430.
“In The Society of the Spectacle Debord argued that modern life was dominated by thecommodity form and the false desires it engendered”(Evans 2016, 67) This idea is mirrored today except to say that modern life today is dominated by the commodity of celebrity and the false desires it engenders. With so many influential critics in the fashion community essentially calling Kanye West a hack, how can his clothes still be in such high demand? The answer of course is the commodity that is celebrity and the cultural cache which goes along with it. With celebrity culture not seeming to slow down anytime soon, more celebrity fashion designers will continue to emerge, but will people realise this is essentially a scam or will they continue to buy into the idea that celebrity is best?
Evans, Caroline. 2003. Fashion at the edge: spectacle, modernity and deathliness. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
Marie Claire. 2016. Accessed 3 October. http://www.marieclaire.com.au/article/fashion/yeezy-slammed-by-fashion-commentator
“Racked” Fashion Blog .Accessed 3 October. http://www.racked.com/2015/9/17/9348001/cathy-horny-yeezy-season-2-review
Highsnobiety.2015. Accessed 3 October. http://www.highsnobiety.com/2015/10/07/yeezy-season-2-pricing/
Photo from : http://www.vogue.com/13277553/kanye-west-adidas-originals-interview/. Accessed October 3.