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Beyoncé takes on the fashion label meat grinder

Ivy Park, a new fashion line from Beyoncé Knowles, seems to have everything going for it. It’s a premium activewear label with an unabashedly on-trend mix of sleek workout gear and casual clothing. And of course, it has the superstar power of Queen Bey herself and a built-in market of fiercely loyal fans, the Beyhive.

Ivy Park Activewear/Nordstrom

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But Ivy Park’s success may not be as inevitable as one might think. Even Beyoncé will have to struggle to avoid having it join the dead or dying celebrity brands that litter the landscape.

Most celebrity clothing lines crash in an embarrassingly public way. Miley Cyrus tried to launch one at Wal-Mart Stores with Max Azria. Paris Hilton’s line for Dollhouse withered, along with a Lauren Conrad line and Heidi Montag’s Heidiwood for Anchor Blue Retail Group. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Bitten and Amanda Bynes’s Dear died with their partner retailer Steve & Barry’s LLC. Eve’s Fetish folded after years of trying to gain relevance. Lindsey Lohan’s 6126 leggings line was brought down by a series of lawsuits, and Jennifer Lopez called the failure of her fashion labels the biggest disappointment of her career.

Michelle Alleyne, a professor at Parsons School of Fashion and founder of fashion consultancy M Shop NYC, said celebrity fashion brands fail so often because the stars don’t put in the effort to learn what their customers want to wear. All celebrity brands are hyped hard for their launch, but maintaining that momentum, and keeping shoppers interested in the goods that eventually hit the racks, is the arduous part. Though celebrity brands start with gobs of free marketing and exposure, sales are determined by the fashion items themselves, not the name stamped on them, Alleyne said.

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