Earlier this week, news broke that the Kardashian Kollection, sold stateside at Sears, would be krossing the pond courtesy of Sir Phillip Green and his massive retail empire. Under Green’s Arcadia group (you’re probably most familiar with Arcadia’s Topshop) the line will be sold in some 13 countries and will land in 250 Dorothy Perkins’s stores in the UK alone. (Dorothy Perkins is lower priced than Top Shop and a little less trendy–think Charlotte Russe.)
The Kardashian name is ubiquitous here but do the sisters have Brit appeal? Do any of Kim K’s 15 million Twitter followers hail from the UK? We figured, um, yeah. But when we checked with some of our favorite Brit fashion journos, they told us the Kardashian name isn’t quite as big over there. “You never see Kim in the pages of [UK tabloids] Hello! or OK!” one sniped.
But that actually might be good for the brand abroad. Whereas here there’s a pretty public distaste for the Kardashian Klan and mom Kris’s konstant shilling of her brood, the fact that Keeping Up With the Kardashians doesn’t air overseas might serve the Kardashians well as the brand goes global.
“I really do think it’s a good move–it’s like two royal families have bonded,” said Camilla Morton, veteran fashion journalist and author of the forthcoming fashion fairytale Diane von Furstenberg and the Tale of the Empress’s New Clothes. “[Sir Phillip Green] obviously saw them and saw family values.”
Morton also pointed out that Green’s daughter Chloe made a name for herself on the Brit hit scripted-reality show Made in Chelsea, which she then parlayed into a line of shoes for her dad’s Topshop stores. Hmm…sound like anyone we know? Chloe’s shoes for Topshop–massive platform stilettos, often liberally doused with glitter–look like shoes any one of the Kardashian sisters would wear. Both Green and the Kardashian sisters love them a smokey eye. So maybe it’s a match made in heaven?
Navaz Batliwalla, a freelance fashion editor who blogs as Disneyrollergirl grudgingly admits the Kardashian Kollection will probably take well in the UK. “I hate it but I can’t deny it’s a smart move on Dorothy Perkins’ part. Or maybe a desperate one,” Batliwalla said. “The Kardashians epitomise today’s engaged celebrity-to-consumer culture, where their fans want to be close to them in any way possible. Kardashian fans are so brand-loyal they don’t even care if the whole set-up’s fake or real. It’s kind of sad but it’s the world we live in.” Still, Batliwalla thinks the Kardashians’ 15 minutes might not last in the UK–though they’ve proven to have staying power stateside. ” In the UK, our equivalent is Jordan, (AKA Katie Price) a ‘page 3 girl’ who had the world at her feet a few years ago—it won’t last so the Kardashians and Dorothy Perkins are cashing in while they can. Ka-ching!”
And while the fashion set might acknowledge that Green’s bringing the Kardashians to the UK is a smart financial move, some still aren’t too thrilled.
“Killing Kulture Kwickly,” Sasha Wilkins, another former fashion editor turned blogger at Liberty London Girl, wrote me when I emailed her about the move. “Whilst I admire the Kardashian entrepreneurial drive, hell will freeze over before I buy into any of their product ranges.” Burn!