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Rebel Wilson On Her New Clothing Line, Entrepreneurial Drive and Becoming a Force in Fashion – Forbes
Rebel Wilsonâs onscreen persona is unwavering: laugh-out-loud funny, rambunctious and unapologetically candid. Since her scene-stealing role in Bridesmaids, the Australian actress has entertained movie and televisions audiences with her own brand of brazen, sharp, slapstick comedy. She has built a reputation for being affable and silly. But behind the charisma lies a business-savvy mind that is ready to expand her repertoireâboth in and out of Hollywood.
âMost people think Iâm a bit stupid because of the fun characters I play,â Wilson said with a laugh, as she sat on a hot-pink armchair in a converted space in New York, donning a sleek black dress and bouffant hair. âIâm very creative, but Iâve always been business-minded. I remember selling candy at dog shows, making 100 bucks a day as a kid, which is a lot. And Iâve grown from there and now have a fashion line.”
Indeed, Wilson was hosting the launch of Rebel Wilson x Angels, her new plus-size fashion brand that was created in partnership with Mamiye Brothers, an American manufacturer and distributor of womenâs and kidâs apparel. The inaugural collection consists of a range denim pieces, graphic tees, bomber and varsity jackets and form-hugging dresses. Simple as it was, the assortment presented throughout the event (and at a press preview a few months prior) had more of an edge than the matronly styles typically offered in the plus-size category. And seeing how Wilson fits, as she admits, âthe average American figure, which is 16 to 18,â she wanted to bring something to the marketplace that is not readily available to women whose sizes range from 14 to 24.
âIâm definitely more youthful than other plus-size brands,â she said. âIâm obviously not 19 years old anymore, but I still like being confident. On the red carpet, I like to wear body-con dresses that really show the silhouette of my figure. I like showing my décolletage and a bit of skin.â
The addition of lined studs on denim jackets, catchy phrases on shirts and bosom- and leg-baring cuts did give a number of items a fashionable quotient, making them more interesting then ho-hum basics found at the nearest department store. âIâm always telling Chantal, our lead to designer, to lower the neckline,â Wilson said. âI donât really like long dresses. I prefer ones that go to the knee that show a bit of leg.â The Sydney native also enlisted the consultation of her personal stylist Elizabeth Stewart, who also counts Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Viola Davis as clients.
Agreeable as the line may be, Wilson does not carry as much name recognition in the sphere of fashion as, say, Stewartâs other celebrity clientele. Even she admits that her style game was subpar before Stewart. âBasically, becoming an international movie actress, I had to learn about fashion and style,â she said half-jokingly. Then again, her fan base may not care that she is not wearing the fresh-of-the-runway dress from Paris Fashion Week. They see Wilsonâs confidence and ability to wear outfits, curves and all, without any trepidationâand want to emulate it.
âI only released it [the promotion images of Rebel Wilson x Angels] yesterday, and I already have hundreds of thousands of views and likes between my Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter,â she said. âWhen plus-size girls see me wearing things, and when they like it, theyâll ask where they can get it. Now, with my line, they can buy it!â
Wilsonâs social media presence certainly enticed the bigwigs at Mamiye Brothers, who initially approached Wilson with the project. Having 2.78 million followers on Twitter and 4.4 million followers on Instagram, her reach is definitely expansive. And presuming that a large portion of that base identifies with the Pitch Perfect starâs Ruebenesque figure, launching a plus-size line with Wilson as the face was a very smart move.
âPeople watch whom they admire and want to follow their style cuesâand Rebel is right on trend, â said Charles D. Mamiye, the chairman of Mamiye Brothers. âIâve been looking at the plus-size space for two and half years, looking for the right opportunity to hit the market. And this was a way for us to make a big splash with somebody that people trust and admire. We found the perfect person. She has this comic approach, but she is really very professional.â
From the onset, names like Nordstrom, Dillards and Lord & Taylor have scooped up line, and will stock their stores with Rebel Wilson x Angels in July. And with prices that range from $48 to $180, it is meant to appeal to the masses.
âPlus-size fashion is a billion-dollar industry already, but it is still underserved,â said Wilson. âSo there is a huge market share just ready for the taking.â
And seeing how she made $100 a day from selling candy as a kid, Wilson is not one to rest on her laurels, waiting for opportunities to come her way. She goes after them. Not only has she launched a fashion line this year, she will also headline the film Pitch Perfect 3 (where she has worn pieces from Rebel Wilson x Angels as a way to bolster the brandâs recognition even further) and will star in and produce two new films: Isnât it Romantic and a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Anne Hathaway.
âIâm very entrepreneurial,â Wilson said. âPeople donât know that I went to the top law school, basically the Harvard of Australia. Now, I have all these business.
Undoubtedly, funny is Wilson’s overriding attribute, but that doesn’t make her any less enterprising. Because when it comes to legal and financial dealings, best believe her tone and attitude are pitch-perfect.