Superstars To Designers

Our fashion panel give their verdict on celebrity lines…

In the fashion industry today, both high-end and high-street, there is a plethora of celebrity ranges and collaborations.

From model Rosie Huntington Whitely to actress Sienna Miller and music stars like  Beyoncé and Rihanna, it seems a number of stars are keen to try their hand at designing. Whilst some inevitably crash and burn (Jennifer Lopez’s Sweetface… anyone remember that?),  a select few exceed all expectations and have blossomed into highly successful brands.

We’ve asked our own Nottingham Uni panel of fashionista judges to offer their verdict on some of the most high-profile celebrity-turned-fashion designer labels.

Chemistry student James Dyble, English student Kelly-Jo Grimshaw, German student Isabella Bruce and myself take our seats on the front row…


The Panel of Judges

James Dyble

Kelly Jo Grimshaw

Isabella Bruce

Hannah Bergin


Victoria Beckham

Posh Spice silenced sceptics when, after debuting her own collection in 2009, she won them all over with her unique designs.

Four and a half years later, she’s one of the hottest tickets at New York Fashion Week, showcasing her chic outfits alongside legends like Calvin Klein and Vera Wang. Minimalist silhouettes in simple block colours have become her trademark. Described as being a collection for ‘engaged intellectuals’, it’s no doubt her eponymous brand earned £60 million last year.

The Verdict

Kelly : VB is so clever – her designs are so simple but so effective too. I like the fitting and cut of the clothes.

Isabella : It’s a bit too plain for me – I’d even say a bit boring! There’s a little too much black and not very much embellishment or accessorising, which I would normally go for when dressing myself.

Hannah : I love how involved with her customers Victoria is. She’s really interested in their opinions and involves them heavily in the design process so she knows exactly what women want to wear!


The Olsen Twins

The Olsen twins are long-established fashion icons, forever appearing on best-dressed lists and even launching their own book.  So when the sisters set up their own high-end label The Row, it was inevitably destined for good things. The brand perfectly incarnates the Olsens’ feminine-grunge style, featuring billowing, oversized shapes in delicate ladylike fabrics.

The Verdict

James : I’m not sure I’d like my girlfriend to wear this stuff… It’s rather outlandish!

Kelly : It’s not exactly practical everyday wear. I do like the simpler pieces though.

Isabella : I personally prefer to wear a bit of colour and pattern. But there are some very pretty pieces.

Hannah : If I could I’d buy every piece from every season! It’s all really pretty and feminine but in a mature and sophisticated way, not tacky or ultra-girly. Meadham Kirchoff style! I think their use of material is really smart- how they simply drape and fold to create almost origami-like shapes.

Gwen Stefani

The audacious pop star set up her label L.A.M.B in 2004 and watched it flourish into a multi-million dollar company. Stefani infuses her designs with the exotic cultures of India, Jamaica and Guatemala, to create colourful and playful clothes as unique as the pop star herself.

The Verdict

James : This stuff is funky! It’s quite bold, so you’d need to be a certain type of person to wear them.

Kelly : I love this, it’s so me! I think it’s a brand created with our kind of audience in mind – young and fun! The quirky patterns and playful colours – I wish I had them all!

Isabella : Some of it’s a little ‘out-there’. But it’s fun and definitely very Gwen Stefani.

Hannah : I’m not sure I’m brave enough to wear some of this! I feel like it’s a bit in-your-face. I could perhaps handle a piece at a time – say, a colourful top with something simpler like a pair of jeans.


And one for the lads…

Sean Combs

The ultra-hip Puff Daddy set up Sean John in 1998. It’s over a decade later and the hip-hop mogul is still enjoying critical and commercial success. The Council of Fashion Designers of America have nominated the brand 5 times for its excellence in design, awarding Combs Men’s Designer of the Year in 2004. The company generates over $100 million annually.


The Verdict

James : The line has some smart, classic pieces not far from what you would find in high street stores and similar to what I normally wear. But some of the jackets and tops are weird…

Kelly : Well it’s slightly odd, but stylish for sure. Some of the pieces – the more basic and simple items, are better than others.

Isabella : I like the formal wear, the suits, shirts and ties. But some of the more casual pieces, like his roll-neck jumpers… what the hell are they?!

Hannah : You definitely need swag for some of Sean John’s more adventurous designs! I think maybe it should stay in the hip-hop world –Kanye West or Drake could pull it off.