The pop stars who have conquered the fashion world

By Emma Saunders
Entertainment reporter

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Pop stars have always been clothes horses for fashion designers - but more and more of them are turning to designing themselves.

So far this year, Skepta has released his debut fashion range and Zayn Malik's Versace Versus collection was unveiled.

They join a list of musicians-turned-designers that already includes names like Victoria Beckham, Kanye West and Rihanna.

But how easy is it for a pop star to become a successful designer in a world where, traditionally, you had to cut your teeth in the trade before your designs would hit the catwalk?

1. Victoria Beckham

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image captionVictoria Beckham has left her Spice Girls past behind

Say goodbye to the artist formerly known as Posh Spice, and instead say hello to top British fashion designer Victoria Beckham.

The former Spice Girl launched her first fashion range back in 2008, and it's fair to say there was a bit of sniggering and some raised eyebrows.

But her first collection - a modest one containing just 10 dresses - went down a storm with critics.

Nicole Phelps wrote in Vogue: "The woman formerly known as Posh Spice has launched a dress collection, and, believe it or not, it's one of the hottest things going in New York this week."

And since then, Mrs Beckham has gone from strength to strength.

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image captionVictoria Beckham is in with the fash pack - here she's pictured with Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of US Vogue

"With Victoria Beckham, everyone wanted to hate her and put her down and she learnt from the beginning how to do everything from scratch - now, she might not be able to pattern-cut but does that really matter?" says Glamour's fashion director Natalie Hartley.

"Beckham is getting respect because right at the beginning, she really put her neck on the line. I remember the early days when she would do her shows in New York, she would talk you through the collections herself and she became very friendly with the editors. It was a very clever move.

"People felt like they got to know her and she would remember you every season… she was actually very personable and I think that won them over."

VB has won several prestigious awards including two best brand accolades at the British Fashion Awards in 2011 and 2014.

As well as her own collections, she's collaborated with US high street brand Target, which includes clothes in larger sizes and is affordable for the majority of us who can't afford designer prices.

She once said: "I want a woman to look and feel like the best version of herself."

2. Kanye West

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image captionWest brings on the bling for the Met Ball

Kanye is just one of a number of US music stars to have made the foray into fashion - honourable mentions also go to Jay Z and Pharrell.

Kim Kardashian's husband first dipped his toe into the fashion world back in 2009 with a Nike collaboration - step forward the Air Yeezys - before further shoe lines followed with designer labels including Luis Vuitton.

To prove he was taking fashion seriously, West completed an internship with Fendi the same year.

An original pair of 2009 Air Yeezys is currently on offer on eBay for an eye-watering $1,349.99 (£1,055).

In 2011, the rapper debuted DW Kanye West, his women's fashion label, at Paris Fashion Week.

But it's fair to say it didn't go down too well with the fashion pack.

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image captionWest gets fully involved in his fashion shows

The Daily Telegraph's Lisa Armstrong summed it up as a "stupendously vacuous enterprise".

And the New York Times' Suzy Menkes wrote: "His collection of sexpot low-bodice dresses and skintight pants, decked out with heaps of ginger fur, did not inspire the fashion crowd to tell him to give up his day job."


On the plus side, did blog that it was "a work in progress".

Ever the optimist, Kanye got back in the saddle quickly and his second line, launched in 2012, was largely well received.

He has since gone on to produce five seasons of his Yeezy clothing line plus a trainer collaboration with Adidas.

"I am actually a fan of Kanye's Yeezy collections," Natalie Hartley says. "I love sportswear and think he has done a great job making simple, modern sportswear. He has also grafted to learn the ropes, he is passionate about fashion, and who can knock that?"

3. Gwen Stefani

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image captionGwen took some time out for her children

The No Doubt singer first stepped into the fashion foray with the launch of her label L.A.M.B in 2004. The name is an acronym of her debut solo album Love.Angel.Music.Baby.

She has frequently shown her collections during New York Fashion Week and has attracted largely positive reviews.

On the label's Facebook page, L.A.M.B is described as "a playful juxtaposition between classic Hollywood movie star glamour and more modern and casual street influences. L.A.M.B. is always a mixture of vintage inspiration mashed up with modern and futuristic elements".

It's certainly been a commercial success for the singer, raking in millions of dollars a year, which has allowed her to expand her fashion empire to include labels Harajuku Lovers (inspired by Japanese street style) and Design With Purpose (her eco-friendly line designed with Seven for all Mankind founder Michael Glasser).

While Natalie Hartley says she's "personally not hugely in to [Gwen's] style", she credits her for sticking to her own instincts and "her fan base are up for dressing just like her".

Stefani took a break from New York Fashion Week a while ago, explaining that "the only reason I haven't [been] lately is because it falls when my kids go back to school and I was like, 'Oh, I guess I will go to NYFW and miss my kid's first day of kindergarten.' No."

But never fear fashion fans, Gwen has been back showing off her wares on the runway again. Hoorah for childcare!

4. Rihanna

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image captionRihanna hits the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival

RiRi has proved to be a designer's dream over the last few years, gracing red carpets in the likes of Stella McCartney, Chanel, Prada and Giambattista Valli.

But she's not just a clothes horse - she has been designing clothing for several years now across various different brands.

Her fashion credits include underwear, denim and T-shirts for Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear plus a high street collection for River Island.

Natalie explains that there's an authenticity about Rihanna's fashion credentials: "Rihanna does stuff that's true to her. She wouldn't put anything together she would never wear herself."

Being named creative director of Puma in 2014, which entails overseeing the direction of the womenswear collection, was a big moment for the star.

She's gone on to have huge success with her Puma trainer line, including her creeper-style trainers and furry sliders.

Other recent collaborations include an all-denim collection with shoe god Manolo Blahnik (including thigh-high boots) and a range of sunglasses for Dior.

Not content with clothes and shoes, RiRi also has several perfumes to her name - including Kiss and Crush - and a jewellery line with Chopard.

5. Tinie Tempah

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image captionTinie Tempah is a regular at the top fashion shows

The south London rapper first cut his fashion teeth not long after he scored his first number one with his debut single Pass Out back in 2010.

His label Disturbing London is very much based on his own style - street mixed with high fashion.

Consistently listed as one of Britain's best-dressed men, Tinie launched his What We Wear line earlier this year.

Natalie says: "Tinie Tempah's whole stance is sustainability and recycling materials. He obviously has a passion about that and that's what he wants to put out."

Speaking about his decision to go into fashion, the man himself told Reuters: "To be honest I got a little bit bored of people just saying I was really stylish just for wearing other people's clothes,"

"After a while I feel like people start to put more of the emphasis on the clothes than the actual person...I started to feel like I was a bit of a walking mannequin."

He's also said he'd be up for designing a women's collection at some point.

"Regardless of what you're wearing, confidence is key. You can pretty much wear anything as long as you're confident enough to wear it. Fashion and style are two different things - you can wear the same things," he once told GQ.

Wise words indeed.

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