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Why does celebrity style play such a key role in the fashion industry?

Every year many of us anxiously await the Oscar awards. Not only do we want to find out which film directors, actors, and actresses are being awarded a prestigious Oscar, but we also want to see what's being worn on “The Red Carpet.” Here, glamorous stars from Katherine Heigl to Hilary Swank, Cameron Diaz, and beyond, sashay down the carpet dressed in exquisite gowns created by the industry's most renowned designers. As each star poses in the latest designer gown, the media feverishly captures snapshots of what each one is wearing. When the images are released through magazines and other media venues, the reporters are sure to mention which designer outfitted each star studded celebrity.

Whether its Swank's elegant black Versace gown or Heigl's eye-catching red silk georgette Escada gown accented with a sophisticated one-shoulder design, we'll be sure to see other designers fashion pieces that were inspired by these often extravagant creations.

Moving far beyond The Red Carpet, even the more casual looks sported by celebrities seem to draw a frenzy of media attention. As these stars perform mundane tasks such as grabbing their Starbucks on a Saturday morning, taking their children out for a trip to the park, or strolling the streets of New York's Soho scouting the next must-have apparel or accessory item, the media is always on the lookout to see what they're wearing. Undoubtedly the brands they wear and the styles they flaunt will eventually influence the general public.

What is the fashion industry's obsession with these stars? Marketing executives and fashion designers are certainly aware of the influence celebrities have on the general public, which is why stars (who really don't really need the complimentary clothing), are often gifted an item of clothing or an accessory--whether its an expensive designer item or a simple t-shirt embellished with a Superwoman logo. What the stars are seen wearing on the pages of the latest fashion magazines are sure to create interest and demand among consumers.

Star power certainly goes a long way. In fact, as a way to promote specific items, many star studded events and fashion shows distribute gift-bags, which are commonly referred to as “swag” among industry insiders. At the recent shows in New York City, designer Alexander Wang gifted his guests a white tank top from his new collection called “T.” Apparently, this white tank has been worn by style setters such as editors, buyers, and stylists. As they mingle in their social circles, they create buzz about specific items. This industry buzz turns out to be an effective form of advertising, which is why a trend can often be traced back to a celebrity or even an editor, stylist, or buyer.

By Regina Cooper

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