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All four have collections showing during this week’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, and while none are as respected as top American designers, they have earned loyal followings by carving out niches, paying attention to tailoring and showing collections away from the glare of the key catwalks.

Celebrities who have tried their hands at fashion have often been criticised or quickly closed their collections. Jennifer Lopez and Lindsay Lohan both struggled, and Kanye West’s recent clothing line debut in Paris was lampooned by some.

In the often prickly and elitist world of fashion, stars of movies, music and TV looking to join the club are measured by sometimes harsher standards than up-and-coming or little-known designers, according to experts such as Tracy Taylor, US editor for online fashion magazine Net-A-Porter.

“It’s more difficult for a celebrity to launch a clothing line. Honestly, the eyes and ears of the world are on them,” Taylor told Reuters, adding that it was not only customers but “the eyes of this rarified group that almost is unattainable for celebrities — and that’s to be a fashion designer.”

Being a Hollywood star is wrapped in style and image, so naturally many celebs stray into the world of fashion, she said.

“There’s nothing cooler these days than to be a designer. Being a celebrity is great, but I think a lot of them who fancy themselves well-dressed and like to put their best foot forward… hold designers in high regard.”

But fame alone, does not bring success. In fact, the crucial elements for celebrities to win fashion fans are often the same as for designers without well-known faces or names: originality, flawless design and knowing their target audience.

Rachel Zoe, who found fame as stylist to celebrities before becoming a reality TV star with The Rachel Zoe Project, has a clothing line showing this week in New York. She told Reuters that crossing over was “the most terrifying thing I’ve done in a really long time, besides childbirth.”

Designing a collection is far riskier than being a stylist or critic. “I’ve always been in the audience,” Zoe said. “To then have my collection out on display for everyone to see, my peers, mentors, and then of course, buyers, customers, editors, photographers, the whole thing is terrifying.”

Other reality TV stars have found it hard to build a career. Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll often says it is difficult to transfer TV success to respect among fashionistas. — Reuters.

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