Jessica Simpson Is Gunning For Ralph Lauren’s Branding Empire

Jessica Simpson is a powerful woman. Not only does she have the ability to convince normally sane people that she would actually design a line of heeled swim flippers, her Jessica Simpson Collection empire has projected $1 billion in sales for 2012 — which probably explains why she’s the subject of eight separate stories in today’s issue of Women’s Wear Daily.

While the package covers everything from her social media strategy to her favorite designers, the most enlightening article might be a three-page piece focusing on Jessica Simpson as a “A Real, Live Girl,” which indeed she is. Besides the fact that Simpson has an archive of vintage clothing she’s collected along the years, we also learn that she and her mother somewhat painstakingly approve every item designed and manufactured under her name.

Jessica and Tina approve every item that bears the Jessica Simpson name. “It’s a three-step process,” Tina explained. “We see it at the beginning design stage. We’ll give our inspiration and our color palette. And then, mid-design, they bring to us what they’re working on, and then we have final approval.”

“I was here for three days straight doing approvals for 10 hours a day, and that’s a lot,” said Jessica, noting that she approves the fit, fabrics, buttons, thread colors and zipper pulls.

As for designer inspiration, Simpson looks to the top.

The Simpsons said they’d like to open their own freestanding stores, showcasing the entire range. They currently sell merchandise in 28 countries. Asked whose business she admires, Jessica didn’t hesitate — “Ralph Lauren.”

And while a Ralph Lauren-esque empire might be a lofty aspiration, at least Simpson has fashion bloggers on her side. One of her shoe designs is worn regularly by Rumi Neely.

Simpson tweeted about the “Dany,” a Seventies-inspired T-strap platform sandal she wore on the cover of a single — and the shoe sold out instantly. It had to be reordered three times for jessicasimpsoncollection.com, and it’s now on open stock and available year-round… “It’s become a top blogger shoe,” Robert said of the Dany. “Rumi Neely [of the Fashion Toast blog] wears Chanel with Jessica Simpson shoes.”

Neely, whose blog gets 90,000 page views a day on average, told WWD that she wears her Dany platforms all the time. “They are so girly and whimsical, and for their towering height, they’re pretty comfortable. I usually wear them with little white dresses and denim shorts and tights.”

Mr. Lauren, don’t let Chicken-of-the-Sea references fool you. We highly recommend you watch your back.

The cover:

Jessica Simpson: The Social Networker [WWD]
Jessica Simpson: A Real, Live Girl [WWD]

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