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The introduction of a famous person’s brand is both ordinary and exciting. While it may not be groundbreaking when a public figure announces their new business venture, we often feel the need to share our thoughts due to the frequent occurrence of these announcements. Discussions arise, praising creativity and predicting potential failure – and as devoted followers, we are tempted to take a stance because it is a part of popular culture, which relies on commentary. Recently, Kylie Jenner, a 26-year-old reality TV star known for her successful $1 billion beauty company, Kylie Cosmetics, revealed her upcoming fashion line, Khy. This has sparked a lot of conversation.
Khy’s line of fashionable items is named after her childhood nickname and offers affordable prices. The clothing line was created through a partnership between Kylie and her mother, Kris Jenner, as well as investors Emma and Jens Grede, known for co-founding successful celebrity brands like Skims, Good American, and Brady.
Khy strives to close the distance between high-quality and budget-friendly options by offering a range of versatile pieces at affordable prices, while avoiding the perception of cheap clothing. The collection includes a variety of items, from edgy faux leather outerwear to practical nylon basics for layering. Working with designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl from Namilia, a Berlin-based brand, the fashion muse launched the first collection, which reportedly generated over $1 million in sales within the first hour on November 1st, according to a report by People.
The focus of this line is to showcase significant fashion items and collaborate with talented designers while keeping it affordable – ensuring that everything in the initial release is priced at or below $200, stated the visionary to Vogue journalist Luke Leitch.
Kylie, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal Magazine for its “Innovator’s Issue,” discussed her upcoming fashion line and her plans to work with various guest collaborators throughout the year. She also mentioned that new releases will occur every few weeks, but each collection will still embody her personal style and wardrobe. The first collection, titled “001,” will combine edgy and biker-inspired elements. She hopes to offer consumers a variety of options to suit their moods, so it’s unlikely that the entire line will consist solely of faux leather moto pieces.
The recent business venture of the beauty mogul made me realize that famous individuals will always continue to create companies with their own names, regardless of their level of expertise in the industry. This is especially evident with the Kardashian/Jenner family, who have a growing interest in commercial enterprises.
I was initially frustrated by Kylie’s choice to create her own label, considering there are many independent designers who have been working on modern projects for a long time without as much recognition. For smaller creators, it can be difficult to gain visibility for their brand, while celebrities already have a wide audience. However, should we criticize Kylie for using her large following to promote her new brand? Is it fair to compare the efforts of independent creatives to those of public figures? No.
As famous individuals are likely to capitalize on their fame, it is important to be mindful of our discussions about their business endeavors. We should avoid giving unproductive attention to irrelevant details, boasting about them unnecessarily, or prematurely criticizing them.
Mosha Lundström Halbert, a fashion news writer and founder of “Newsfash,” a cutting-edge media company, believes that it is not fair to categorize celebrity clothing brands in the same league as prestigious fashion houses such as Gucci or Balenciaga. Similarly, smaller designers who kickstarted their careers in school cannot be compared to these established brands. The fashion industry offers a diverse range of ideas and should not be lumped together as a whole.
According to Halbert, not all clothing companies can be considered fashion brands just because they create fashionable items. The expectations for brands established by celebrities differ from those of established fashion designers who have either gone to fashion school or have experience in the industry.
“I believe it’s not fair to categorize all designers who create clothing and accessories together. I don’t see them as competing with established fashion brands, especially when considering the price and saturation of the market,” she stated. “Independent designers should concentrate on their own work and not be concerned with Kylie Jenner’s actions. They operate in completely separate lanes.”
The intended demographic for a freelance designer differs from that of a celebrity designer. High-profile individuals, such as Kylie, who have a large following, are counting on the large number of people who are interested in their personal style, recommendations, and preferences to be interested in buying clothing with their name on it.
According to Bernard Garby, a well-known fashion news TikToker, it is crucial to recognize that celebrity launches represent “launches for the masses,” while smaller designers tend to have more niche audiences that are community-focused.
Garby, who works in the business aspect of high-end products, emphasized to The Independent that there are various markets within the fashion industry. He explained, “These markets have completely different audiences and should not be compared. My suggestion for smaller brands is to shift their focus from competition to building their communities and fostering loyalty, as that is crucial for success.”
Garby suggests that small designers with ambitious commercial goals should observe how celebrities approach and execute their product launches. By doing so, they can gain inspiration and potentially incorporate successful strategies into their own business.
It is too soon to determine whether Kylie’s clothing business will be successful or not. While the reported sales have been positive, it is still too early to make any definitive conclusions. There are several factors that could support either outcome, the first being Kylie’s unique selling point.
At the age of 17, Kylie utilized her passion for makeup and recognized the demand for coordinating lip liners and lipsticks, having experienced frustration as a consumer herself. She also openly expressed her insecurities about the size of her lips, often resorting to overlining them until she eventually got temporary filler in 2015. As a result, her decision to start a makeup brand was driven by her personal identity. The launch of her initial product, a range of lip kit duos, sparked the creation of her entire business empire. According to Garby, Kylie’s first venture was “authentic” in nature.
Looking at the successful businesses that have emerged from the Kardashian/Jenner family, such as Skims, Good American, and Poosh, we can see that they all have a common theme of selling something “organic” or intimate. For Kim, creating sexy shapewear was a reflection of her long-standing belief in wearing what makes you feel comfortable and confident in your own body. Khloe, who has openly discussed her struggles with body insecurities under public scrutiny, focuses on size inclusivity with Good American in order to represent and empower women of all body shapes. And Kourtney, known for her passion for wellness, created Poosh, which she describes as a “modern guide to living your best life.”
“Examining the Kardashians, it is quite intriguing. They have attempted numerous ventures that were not successful,” Halbert observed. From Dash, the family’s retail store founded in Calabasas which eventually shut down in 2018, to “The Kardashian Kard,” a prepaid MasterCard debit card, the ambitious reality family did not always achieve success in their endeavors.
In an interview with Vogue, Kylie shared the personal experience that inspired her to create Khy. Like many others, Kylie was a “Tumblr girl” during her teenage years, creating mood boards to reflect her current interests. She called herself “Kalifornia Klasss” on the platform, using it as a way to discover her identity and envision the woman she would become. This persona, known as “King Kylie,” played a significant role in the creation of Khy.
“It is really significant. King Kylie for me was less about what I was wearing, and more about how I felt in that era. I just felt confident, free, and I didn’t care what anyone said,” she said. “I think that there’s a lot of power in that and I’m definitely channeling my King Kylie energy this year.”
However, if having a strong dedication or specializing in a specific market has been beneficial for Kardashian brands in the past, does this indicate that it won’t be long before Khy faces a similar fate?
According to Garby, while establishment can aid in increasing awareness, the success ultimately depends on the quality of the product being sold.
Based on the current selection of artificial leather products made from thermoplastic polymers, which have a decomposition time of up to 500 years and can release harmful chemicals when discarded, as well as possibly shedding microplastics during use, a Nomomente analysis suggests that Khy’s designs may not be significantly different from others on the market. The cropped leather jacket and strapless midi dress are reminiscent of similar items found at Zara. However, the purpose of these designs is not to be unique. They are a personal manifestation of Kylie’s style, with pieces supposedly inspired by her own wardrobe and co-created with admired designers.
However, Kylie is not the only one involved in her success. She has the support of Emma and Jens Grede, a capable duo who have also played a key role in the success of other Kardashian brands. Emma, who was raised in London, co-founded Good American with Khloe, and Safely, Kris Jenner’s line of eco-friendly cleaning products. Meanwhile, Jens, who is originally from Sweden, joined forces with Kim as a co-founder of Skims, which has seen its company value rise to $4 billion since its initial launch, as reported by The New York Times.
At the moment, information about Khy’s upcoming release, “002”, is being kept secret as there is much excitement from an eager audience, curious to see what the brand has in store. Only time will tell if Khy will succeed based on personal style, quality, and fit, or if it will be another short-lived celebrity brand. “King Kylie” may potentially influence subtle luxury and fashion trends in the future.
The Independent has reached out to Kylie’s representatives for a response.