We’re used to seeing famous names pop up alongside some of our favourite beauty brands, but the trend is quickly evolving from collaborations to celebrities creating brands in their own right.
With the UK beauty industry worth £30 billion as of July 2019 – surpassing the motor industry and still growing – it’s easy to see why old faces are appearing in new places. There’s been a huge uptick in trademark filing, whether for makeup, skincare or haircare.
However, the market is crowded and the audience is getting fatigued. Has the celebrity beauty market already peaked?
Today, we’re a long way from Britney Spears collaborations with Elizabeth Arden. The Fenty effect was officially a thing, with Rihanna’s makeup line setting the bar way higher than before in terms of diversity of shades and product quality. Brands have since had to rethink their approach to launches, as consumers become aware of what’s possible.
But celebrities can’t just rely on great products that everyone can use now. Drop culture means that without the required hype, new-to-world brand launches can easily drift into nothingness. And cancel culture means that if you’re not the right personality for this, you can do your name more harm than good. Most importantly, celebrity brands need to do something genuinely innovative and different to earn their place in consumers’ pockets without being seen as a cash-in.
So will the latest celebrities filing trademarks have the range, or should they have stuck to the day job?
Millie Bobby Brown – Florence by Mills
Stranger Things superstar Millie Bobby Brown has launched her own Gen Z beauty brand, named after her grandmother and herself. Two years in the making, Florence by Mills covers both skincare and makeup, and came into being when Brown was doing her makeup on a plane.
"I didn't like how my makeup made me feel. Everything was anti-ageing. I didn't want that to be my beauty journey. Everybody wants to know how to get rid of their wrinkles, but how do I just take care of my skin as a young person?" she said.
Florence by Mills is cruelty-free, vegan, and free of phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic fragrance, with the most expensive item priced at £28.
As huge as her fanbase is, will a 15-year-old have the knowledge required to launch a beauty brand?
“I’ve been in a makeup chair since I was 10, 11 years old, and I have really been introduced to all types of products. I’ve had special effects on my face, blood, all different types of foundation… I wanted to come into the [makeup and skincare] space because there was a gap in the market for young people,” Brown explained.
No word yet on exactly what Gomez is offering to the industry, but having filed a trademark request for ‘Selena Gomez’ beauty products including “fragrances, cosmetics, skin-care preparations, hair-care preparations, soaps, moisturizers and essential oils”, it’s safe to say she’s planning a pretty big launch.
Does this make sense for the singer? Well, she regularly appears on world-renowned MUA Hung Vanngo’s Instagram, and although her looks tend to be pretty safe glam looks, they’re always polished to perfection.
Expectations are high for whatever she delivers, and fans are already excited.
Kim Kardashian-West – SKIMS
And now for something slightly different – KKW’s shapewear line.
The venture suffered a false start in June, when it launched under the name Kimono and met with intense backlash due to accusations of cultural appropriation. After taking some time to regroup, the brand reappeared last week under the new name SKIMS.
So far, so good – there’s been huge praise for the change in name, as well as the decision to have Alice Marie Johnson, who Kim helped free from incarceration last year, as the star of the launch campaign.
And there’s no more convincing advocate than Kim herself, who described her own struggles finding shapewear appropriate for her red-carpet outfits and has credited “three pairs of shapewear” for her post-baby body.
Products shown so far demonstrate an innovative approach to the category, with one-shoulder bodysuits and single-legged shorts in the line-up to accommodate a wider variety of clothing. Plus, with art direction feeling very Yeezy-inspired, SKIMS is glamourising shapewear for the Instagram generation.
This SEEN article has been compiled by our Account Manager, Emma.
Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge? You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.