18 Celebrity Designers Pretending to Be Fashion Geeks

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

What’s keeping Sarah Jessica Parker, Eva Longoria, and Justin Timberlake up at night? Weekend box-office numbers? Billboard chart stats? No — the correct answer would be minor details of fashion construction, at least if you go by the interviews they and other celebrities turned designers have given about their fashion lines over the years. From those who’ve been embraced by the industry, like Victoria Beckham and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, to those who have, well, not, the message is the same: Not only are they involved in their namesake lines, but they have an almost obsessive attachment to every infinitesimal detail.

Today, in honor of the tenth (!) anniversary of the celebrity line that made Jessica Simpson a billionaire, we bring you an alphabetized culling of some of the finest moments in celebrities insisting that, actually, they are incredibly immersed in design minutiae.


Hilary Duff: “I wanted to do a really smart line, like jeans that have lots of multiple sizes of belt loops so you can wear any kind of belt with it and it still kind of looks cool, or jeans that have a spot for suspenders to hook on if you want to let them hang down.” —The Cut, 2009


Jessica Simpson: “Every single hat is examined as it fits over Simpson’s flossy, long blonde hair, its details scrutinized: Too much brim? Too little? How about this but in mustard yellow here and olive green there? Notes are taken, style numbers read aloud and entered into a laptop computer.” —New York, 2011


Victoria Beckham: “She is also a perfectionist involved in every aspect of her company, from the smallest detail on a cuff, to the type of cushions on the spectators’ chairs at her fashion shows, to the largest strategic decision about where she wants the company to go, to a celebrity’s request to borrow a piece for a party (yes to the query from Naomi Watts, she said into the phone at one point during the afternoon). […] ‘I’m involved in everything,’ she said.” —T, 2013


Melissa McCarthy: “[I’m a] very detail-oriented person and I told them I’d be at every fitting and on my hands and knees checking the hems. Now they’re probably thinking, ‘Why doesn’t she go away?’ But I can only do this if I really believe in it and want to wear it.” —WWD, 2015


Kanye West: “I’m not going to try and act like I was influenced by a fucking dog walking down the street that broke its ankle that I had a heartfelt discussion with. I had a heartfelt discussion with all of these fucking Helmut Lang images that I stared at for so many years.” —Style.com, 2015


Glenn Beck: “It took [Beck’s son-in-law Tim] DiDonato about a year to create the jeans, with much of the time devoted to sourcing the precise components Beck insisted on, including copper rivets in the old burr-and-washer style and a signature thread for each cut. ‘We must’ve went through ten different kinds of brown and twelve or thirteen different kinds of golden yellow to find the exact color Glenn wanted,’ DiDonato says.

“Several times, he flew from his home in Manhattan to the Dallas area, where Beck lives, to watch his father-in-law study his options. He still remembers the moment when Beck chose the denim supplier they’d work with. ‘We’re going through them, and he’s rubbing them, feeling them, and laying them on his leg. And he’s like, “No.”’ Then DiDonato gave Beck a swatch made by Cone Denim in North Carolina. ‘He’s like, “This is selvage.” And I was like, “Yup. ”’ (Specifically, it was so-called red selvage, expensive, sturdy denim made on antique-style shuttle looms, with a clean interior seam edged with scarlet thread.) Beck seemed to know at once that the search was over. They talked about the sturdiness of the fabric — ‘What ounce is this?’ the radio host wanted to know — then Beck said, ‘Let’s call Cone.’” —New York, 2012.


Paris Hilton: Per Sammy Sitt, president of SBH Intimates, for whom the celebutante designed a lingerie range, “Paris was big on the ruffles, we couldn’t use enough ruffles and enough pink.” —WWD, 2007


Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: On making the perfect T-shirt: “The secret, they say, is the French seam running down the back. ‘It’s cut from one piece of fabric,’ explains Ashley, who is the older by a few minutes, and tends to take the lead when discussing business. ‘It’s about the drape and the fabric. And finding the balance between the two.’ ‘It’s made on a lingerie machine,’ adds Mary-Kate, fingering the silky, diaphanous sample that is hanging on a rail behind us. ‘A lot of thought has to go into it.’” —The Telegraph, 2011


Sarah Jessica Parker: “I don’t like a shoe to be too shiny. Sometimes it loses its chicness.” —Footwear News, 2013


Victoria Beckham: “’We spend a lot of time perfecting our fit,’ she continues. ‘We spend hours obsessing over a shoulder.’” —Vogue, 2012

Rachel Zoe: “’I like to wear [blazers] a little bigger, so you can wear a zero or a two or a four … If this part is too low,’ she says, explaining the seam should not hit below the shoulder for the coolest slouchy effect, ‘you can’t cheat it.’” —The Cut, 2011


Jennifer Lopez: “I love a wide-legged slack.” —Extra, 2011


Sarah Jessica Parker: “[Growing up,] I loved the shoe store. I would look forever at the stitching of the shoe, at the different colors of a cordovan, a cranberry, a burgundy, a saddle that was taupe and blue, a saddle that was white and blue.” —Harper’s Bazaar, 2014

Eva Longoria: “’I have an industrial sewing machine in my house and I’m so excited when they develop a new pedal. Ooh, now I can do a chain stitch,’ she laughed. ‘People think I’m crazy.’” —WWD, 2015


J.Lo: “I am in the office all the time, and I have been since we did the fashion show [in February 2005]. I was there every single day, going over every tiny detail. As I got through the learning curve, I became more involved and will continue to be.” —WWD, 2007

Nicole Richie: “I focused on the details, from the zipper pulls to the buttons.” —WWD, 2012

Lauren Conrad: “’Wow,’ she says, staring at the colorful sea of scraps sent in by various fabric vendors. ‘Some poor intern had to measure and cut every single one of these. I know, because I used to be that girl.’” —Allure, 2011

André 3000: “I went to factories — I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and Italy — learning the craft.” —Esquire, 2012


Lindsay Lohan: Per the president of her short-lived line 6126, “Lohan is very involved in the design process, working with the five-person team to choose fabrics, trims and buttons and inspecting samples at the downtown L.A. studio. She approves everything, down to invitations for events.”  —L.A. Times, 2010


Justin Timberlake: “Different jeans have different lengths, between the yoke and the waistline.” —Oprah, 2009


Mandy Moore (a.k.a. the lone truth-teller): “I’m as involved as one can be with T-shirts.” —Teen Vogue, 2006

Additional reporting by Eric David King.

18 Celebrities Pretending to Be Fashion Geeks