We’re calling 2011 the Year of the Kardashians: In addition to Kim, Khloé and Kourtney’s three reality shows on the E! network, the buxom sisters are shilling more products than you can shake a Louboutin at—last year alone, they brought in more than $65 million from endorsements, appearances and revenue from their hit shows. Their first fashion collab came with Bebe in 2010, followed by lines for Sears and QVC, as well as a bathing-suit collection for Beach Bunny Swimwear. The sisters also operate their three Dash boutiques to varying success: While the opening of their SoHo location last November garnered a mob worthy of Beatlemania, the New York Times called the store a “fashion desert.”
Grade A- for business savvy; C for style.
When tabloid fixture and Paris Hilton frenemy Nicole Richie announced that she would be launching a jewellery collection in 2008, the fashion world let out a collective groan—not another celebrity line! But the Simple Life star did not disappoint: Her debut House of Harlow 1960 jewellery showed off the pint-size celebutante’s impeccable taste, while her Winter Kate clothing line—launched in 2010—captured the breezy hippie-chic look that has kept Richie on best-dressed lists.
Grade A for business savvy; A for style.
THE UNEXPECTED SUCCESS
Jessica Simpson is known for a lot of things: a mediocre stint in music, a disappointing movie career that brought back Daisy Dukes and several ill-fated, high-profile romances. (Hello, John Mayer!) Needless to say, we didn’t expect that her foray into fashion back in 2007 would amount to much. But with the Jessica Simpson brand—which includes shoes, accessories, denim and even hair extensions— raking in about $750 million in 2010 and on track to hit $1 billion in sales this year, we have to admit the error of our ways. The former Newlyweds star, whose eponymous line is sold in 650 department stores worldwide, is the most successful reality-to-runway star ever. Who knew?!
Grade A for business savvy; B- for style.
More reality stars making their way to the runway on the next page...
THE SHORE THING
Not content to solely dominate the Thursday-night TV lineup, the Jersey Shore crew have fist-pumped their way to the catwalk. Three cast members have already released labels in the vein of their own—ahem— unique style. Jenni “JWOWW” Farley is hawking dresses under the name Filthy Couture, while Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has teamed up with Dilligaf for a no-doubt bedazzled display of tees, sweatshirts and accessories. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is getting in on the action, too: She has partnered with Happy Feet to design plushy slippers and plans to take on swimwear, home furnishings and lingerie this year.
Grade B for business savvy, D for style.
No single reality-TV show has launched more stars-turned-designers than MTV’s The Hills. Shortly after Heidi Montag’s Heidiwood collection was met with almost universal disdain, Whitney Port set up shop in New York to nurture her label, Whitney Eve, under the guidance of Kelly Cutrone. (Cutrone recently announced her own line, The Electric Love Army, but the jury is still out on how the PR maven will fare.) Not to be outdone, L.C. launched The Lauren Conrad Collection in 2007 and then the LC Lauren Conrad collection for Kohl’s in 2009. Consisting of high-end maxidresses and girlie frocks, the lines were met with mixed reviews. When MTV put the kibosh on Conrad’s most recent project, a September Issue-style documentary following the creation of her new Paper Crown line, she fired back, declaring that she was “sorry that MTV didn’t feel their viewers savvy enough to appreciate it.”
Grade C for business savvy; B for style.
THE GLAMOUR GIRL
It’s no wonder Bravo snatched up A-list red-carpet stylist Rachel Zoe for a reality show. Rachel’s quirky catchphrases (”I die!” “Bananas!”) have permeated fashion’s lexicon, while her celebrity feuds border on legendary. (We still can’t believe she forgave Nicole Richie for starting the “raisin face” nickname!) Since the debut of The Rachel Zoe Project in 2008, the diminutive tastemaker has parlayed the success of the show into two fashion lines: Her first Luxe line for QVC sold more than 260,000 units, and there is considerable buzz surrounding her new high-end label, the Rachel Zoe Collection.
Grade A for business savvy; B for style.