The best fashion influencers with their own clothing brands – WWD
With the ability to amass huge followings, secure brand endorsements and become ambassadors for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands, fashion influencers possess the unique skill of being relatable – which has done well enough to sell clothes from other brands that many of these influencers have launched their own lines.
For many, if they’re not launching beauty brands, launching fashion brands was the next logical step.
Here, WWD takes a look at nine fashion influencers who tapped into their own personal brand to launch a clothing collection.
Italian blogger, businesswoman and designer Chiara Ferragni has, over the years, grown her blog, The Blonde Salad, which was established in 2009, into a mega influential empire.
She launched her fashion brand Chiara Ferragni Collection in 2013, first as a footwear line which has since expanded into a wider offering. Now the collection includes clothing, accessories, swimwear, makeup, children’s clothing and jewelry; often embellished with the brand’s signature eye logo. Beginning in 2017, Ferragni’s eponymous clothing brand increased its global distribution by opening a series of flagship stores in Milan, Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
When describing the Chiara Ferragni Collection, the brand’s website declares: “Chiara Ferragni is the mark of sharing, happiness, positive values and good vibes, both in the real world and digitally. Chiara Ferragni’s women are international, dynamic, cool, modern and strong.
Ferragni now has a growing Instagram following of over 27 million followers, and also in 2017, she earned the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ “Top Fashion Influencers” list of 2017.
Blogger-turned-fashion designer Aimee Song started her Song of Style blog in 2008 and has since turned it into a platform – a website, a YouTube channel, a place for Song on the 30 under 30 list. by Forbes in 2016 and two books, the first of which, “Capture Your Style” made the New York Times bestseller list.
With all of this influential prowess, Song launched her clothing brand, Song of Style, in 2019, which she created in partnership with womenswear retailer Revolve. The launch was unique in that it was Revolve’s first brand of internal influence.
Today, Song of Style offers over 200 pieces from its collection on Revolve as well as a partial collection on Shop.songofstyle.com (which Revolve operates). Describing the brand, the Revolve site says, “The Song of Style girl is understated yet elevated. She is not consumed by trends, but rather focuses on timeless pieces. She’s energetic, artistic, bold and colorful…just like founder Aimee Song.
Pieces in the collection include mini dresses with satin kimono sleeves, wood-carved square toe heels and cropped two-piece cotton sets with oversized cuffed sleeves.
Arielle Charnas started her blog, Something Navy, as a style blog in 2009 and had grown it into a clothing line by 2020. generated $4.4 million in sales in 24 hours).
Something Navy, which the brand’s website describes as “a celebration of personal style, carefully crafted for real women who want to add something elegant, ambitious and classic to their everyday lives”, includes clothes for women’s clothing, children’s clothing, swimwear, accessories and home decor. Pieces in the collection include wide leg jumpsuits, mini dresses and cropped drawstring sets.
The clothing line also has a series of physical stores in New York and California. Originally slated to launch in March 2020, the brand was delayed months after Charnas faced backlash for pulling out to the Hamptons in mid-March 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19, despite orders from home stay that were in effect. Now, Charnas currently has over a million followers on its Instagram page and over 300,000 followers on the brand’s Instagram account.
Raven Tracy, a model and influencer with over 2 million Instagram followers, launched her eponymous clothing brand Body by Raven Tracy in 2018 as an ode to body positivity.
As a curvaceous model, Tracy has worked with brands such as Adidas, PrettyLittleThing, Naked Wardrobe and collaborated with brands like True Religion – but has always faced adversities including self-acceptance and social media challenges vs reality. However, she has turned those personal experiences into a platform, complete with a clothing line, focused on positivity in all its forms.
The brand, which has been worn by Kylie Jenner, JT of hip-hop rap duo City Girls and Lori Harvey, offers size-inclusive swimwear and loungewear (with sizes XS to 4XL). Body’s latest capsule, June 17, titled Goddess Swim, features hand-painted illustrations (scanned and printed on the final garment) of the female body in bikinis and tankinis.
On the site, the brand says its goal is to “continue to celebrate our community and build our platform to be the leading destination for everything about you, starting here with body positivity.”
Rumi Neely, formerly a blogger for Fashion Toast (which she started in 2008), launched her own clothing line, Are You Am I, in 2014.
The first clothing line was made in collaboration with fashion retailer Revolve as a vacation pop-up store in Los Angeles and is now sold on its own site. Are You Am I consists of airy and delicate pieces that reflect California native Neely’s everyday style, including appliquéd lace dresses, open-back crop tops with puff sleeves and minimalist gold hoop earrings.
The brand champions slow fashion, producing all pieces in Los Angeles where it says it always pays workers a living wage. Regarding the Are You Am I ethos, the brand notes on its website: “We release pieces that exist outside of trends and are self-contained, as opposed to collections, so that we can bring an array of ideas in just a few weeks.We value slow fashion over mass production so that every quality piece is worthy of investment and loved forever.
New York native Danielle Bernstein started her blog WeWoreWhat in 2010, initially to showcase everyday NYC fashion, but has since grown it into a multifaceted brand of the same name. Her 2020 autobiography “This Is Not a Fashion Story” is a New York Times bestseller, she made Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2017 at just 24, and launched her clothing line WeWoreWhat in March 2020, offering the pieces exclusively through Macy’s through the end of 2020.
However, even with a seemingly successful clothing line and over 2 million Instagram followers, the fashion influencer hasn’t been immune to controversy. Bernstein has repeatedly been accused of copying the work of small designers and labeling them as her own, with the most recent allegation occurring in March 2021, after Ngoni Chikwenengere, the founder of the small clothing brand We Are Kin has accused the influencer of copying its silk strappy maxi dress.
Bernstein, as she has with previous charges, denied stealing the design, and on an Instagram story said “there will always be something ‘people’ can say looks like.”