Why The Olsens’ Fashion Lines Succeeded (& Kanye’s Did Not)

These days, it seems more common to spot a celebrity with a fashion brand than one without. Whether on the mass market (like Adam Levine’s collection for K-Mart), in department stores (Jessica Simpson for Vince Camuto) or on the runway (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsens’ label, The Row), celebrity fashion lines have become major businesses, and their reach is huge.
But, need we remind you of Kanye West’s ill-fated catwalk show? It's clear that some stars' fashion endeavors work much better than others. Author Teri Agins explains why in her new book, Hijacking The Runway. As the former Wall Street Journal editor tells, the secret to transferring movie stardom to the fashion industry lies in separating fame from the clothes themselves.
Having a household name is an instant "in" for the business-deal side of fashion, but scoring sustained success is a much bigger commitment than many celebrities anticipate. Take it from Agins: “Yes, celebrities can immediately pole-vault ahead of everybody else. People will buy [their products] once. If the clothes continue to deliver, they’ll buy them again. But, you can’t base a fashion business on just fans.” After all, fame won't sell clothes if they don't fit.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are the perfect example of this, having (mostly) traded in their acting careers in favor of The Row. Rather than dabbling in various projects, it’s all about the focus and committed vision possessed by the Olsens, Victoria Beckham, and even socialite-turned-designer Tory Burch. So, let that be a lesson to any designer-dilettantes out there. Unless they're really willing to drop everything in favor of fashion, it’s probably best for stars to stick to one-off collabs for now. (

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