Alexa to Zendaya: Why celebrity collaborations are the new it-buys in fashion

A celebrity influencing the latest trends is not unusual, but the success of Tommy Hilfiger's ongoing collaboration with Zendaya shows that celebrity fashion collabs are still a fan favourite, writes Lorna Claire Weightman in her first article for

A celebrity’s job description used to be: actress, television presenter, model and on occasion, all of the above. But over the last decade, the addition of ‘brand ambassador’ has become the norm, as fashion and beauty brands recognize the value of having the latest Hollywood starlet front a new collection or fragrance campaign. And if you are that starlet, the new must-have line on your CV is 'designer' — not just posing, but creating the clothes too.

Noughties fashion

The 2010s have been successful for the celebrity-turned-designer. Alexa Chung went out on her own back in 2016 with her eponymous label, having already gained notoriety for her range with Marks & Spencer, while this year, Rihanna secured investment from LVMH for her luxury clothing brand, Fenty.


But if the short-term route to design success means adding your name to an existing label, then 2019 was the year to secure your own collection. We aren't so naive to think the A-lister pops out to buy Crayola and has an instant talent to draw out designs. But with some powerful friends in fashion, they can all but do the pattern cutting.

Alexa Chung has long been a champion of the collaboration. Her latest collection with footwear brand Superga is the second drop this year, thanks to its laidback fit and affordable price point. We love the ‘2506’ (Superga’s iconic shoe design) in red, and the lurex high top that will befit the vintage vibes Alexa loves.

Celebrity collaborationsAlexa Chung X Superga AW19

That vintage look

Speaking of vintage, the seventies is a key decade reference for our new come of age celeb-turned-designer. Tommy Hilfiger is teaming up with Euphoria actress, Zendaya for a second collection that launched during New York Fashion Week. This capsule range is filled with symbols of 70s style; a cherry-red velvet suit, animal print flares styled with a metallic stripe form-fitting sweater and, our favourite, the polka dot organza blouse (with a bow that would make Austin Powers jealous).

Tommy Hilfiger X Zendaya

Despite Zendaya’s youth (she’s 23), she has found a way to create pieces that resonate with a wider audience. It’s also one of the most inclusive brand partnerships out there, with a size range of 4 to 24 and prices start at €26.

Lovers and chart-toppers

Not to miss a beat (pun intended), Taylor Swift’s much talked about collection with Stella McCartney was an instant sell out, sparking a frisson of chat about a possible second collection. Timed with Swift’s launch of her latest album Lover, the range of t-shirts, bomber jackets and athleisure-inspired pieces channelled her love for all things, well, romantic.

It’s nostalgic, even a little hippy and has McCartney’s ethos of sustainability underpinning the whole range. Taylor simply thinks about something and it turns to gold, whether it’s music, fashion or her love life.

But topping the charts in 2019 is style maven Olivia Palermo with her joint collection with Karl Lagerfeld. The octogenarian passed away earlier this year, yet his legacy lives on — not only through Chanel but also via posthumous collections under his own label.

Olivia’s refined personal style is evident in practical wardrobe staples: a classic black blazer, leather jacket and biker-style trousers. Every capsule piece a girl could need for this season and, well, forever.


Lorna Claire Weightman is a stylist, creator and writer. Follow her on Instagram @styleisleirl 

Read more: How Penneys is leading the high street to be more sustainable

Read more: 5 fashion secrets from seriously stylish women

Read more: SS20's trends are all vintage-inspired — here's where to shop them second-hand


The image newsletter