The list of celebrities who have dabbled in fashion design at one point or another is almost too long to recount. From Beyoncé's Deréon to Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B., most such forays into fashion labels of their own have fizzled long before the stars' celebrity has waned. But there are a few exceptions to this rule, and Victoria Beckham is perhaps one of the most triumphant.
When she launched her eponymous line in 2008, the world knew her mostly as a former Spice Girl and the wife of a soccer star. But almost 10 years later, Beckham is respected as a designer with just as much industry legitimacy as peers who were trained at prestigious schools and who got their start at legacy houses.
"I was very aware that people had preconceptions," said Beckham of her early creative years on Thursday at Vogue's Forces of Fashion conference in New York. "I didn't know very much at all about the fashion industry... I was probably quite naive and a little unaware. And not as scared as I would be if I was doing it now, knowing what I know now."
But her passion and point of view were strong enough that Beckham went ahead and launched her line anyway. The beginnings of her label were "very humble," she reminisced, with a team consisting of only herself and two employees. Early fashion shows were presentations that involved two models walking what she describes as a "tiny" catwalk.
"Sometimes there might be a room full of people in the presentation, and sometimes there would be just one person who didn't even speak English," she laughed. "But I didn't care, because I just wanted to talk about the collection and the product spoke for itself."
Soon, the well-defined silhouettes of her wiggle dresses (or "sucky-sucky dresses," as Beckham herself called them, in reference to the stretchy fabric and form-fitting shape of many of her earliest designs) began to win over press and buyers. Slowly, she began to expand her range to include knits and more tailored pieces.
"I didn't want to do anything too quickly. I didn't want to do it until I could do it properly," explained Beckham. "Because unless I was doing it very well, there was no point in me doing it."
"I love the development process," she noted of creating her aforementioned makeup line. "I love talking about the packaging. [My husband] David thinks I'm really boring that I get so excited about boxes and stuff. But I find it really interesting."
Her team is so small, asserted Beckham, that she still oversees the smallest of details, like which celebrities are loaned clothing from her line. "I approve absolutely everything," she claimed, though she noted that some in-the-spotlight figures — like Melania Trump — appear in her clothing because they make the purchases themselves.
Ultimately, it's her deep level of involvement in every level of her brand that Beckham believes has set her apart from other celebrities dabbling in fashion design over the years.
"I think that many of these other celebrities, those were licensing deals… They were putting their names on other people's products," she explained. "And I don't think there's anything wrong in that. But for me, it was never about that. I wasn't singing anymore. I'm not an actress. I really put everything into this [brand] — this was a new career for me. I had a vision, it was very focused, and I surrounded myself with the right people."
Sounds like good advice for any new designer, Spice Girl or no.