The pay-to-wear trend is perhaps the worst kept secret of the fashion industry, as reports of celebrities who are offering to wear designers’ clothes in exchange for thousands of dollars and free tickets to this year’s Coachella music festival are coming in.
Vanessa Hudgens, star of the film Spring Breakers, has McDonald’s in her corner, apparently paying the young starlet $15,000 to attend the three day music extravaganza. Meanwhile, Lacoste has got Lea Michele, star of the hit TV show Glee, rocking its clothing line for a whopping $20,000.
Some stars are having a little less luck though. Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul wants $15,000 and two VIP passes, while Joe Jonas hopes to get $20,000 from a sponsor to attend.
While Coachella allows designers of more casual clothing the chance to have celebrities sport their wares, the Oscars have allowed high end jewelry makers and fashion designers similar opportunities. Jennifer Lawrence, star of The Hunger Games, found herself in the midst of a bidding war between designers wanting her to wear their respective dresses to the big event. Back in 2011, Tiffany and Co. reportedly paid hostess Anne Hathaway $750,000 to wear their jewelry.
“In the last five years, a lot more designers are paying actors to wear their pieces,” says Cole Trider, a fashion publicist of Autumn Communications. “Stylists are now brokering deals for actors, just like a manager or agent would.”
Celebrities aren’t just making money off of the fashion world through sponsorships, either. Many celebrities have turned entrepreneur, venturing out to start their own clothing line, or sometimes pairing with an already well established designer. Recently, Kanye West partnered up with the French clothing brand A.P.C. to offer customers a $120 plain white t-shirt, which quickly sold out.
What’s more, fashion designers will also pay celebrities to sit front row at the runway during fashion week. Brands have staunchly refused to comment on the practice for about 25 years, but Cameron Silver, a retailer and stylist, is one of the few, rare insiders that went on record about it. “They fly them out and put them up,” said Silver, “and offer a nice Paris or Milan holiday, unless they’re contractually obliged to attend. Others pay them an appearance fee.”
Secret or no secret, it’s common knowledge that celebrities’ star power inextricably ties them with sponsors. It’s no wonder that such trends have begun to crop up in Hollywood.