“Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the 2007 E! Network reality series that catapulted the Kardashian and Jenner family into an unchartered echelon of fame, ends its 20 season-run this week, but it’s unlikely that the family’s megawatt star power will soon fade. With a combined 950 million followers on Instagram, and a collective worth of $2 billion, according to a 2020 Forbes estimate, momager Kris, Poosh-founder Kourtney, Skims-creator Kim, Good American cofounder Khloé, supermodel Kendall and beauty maverick Kylie have forged a new brand of celebrity.
From having a seat at the trial of the century, to being connected to not one, but two political campaigns—Kanye West’s bid for the highest office in the country ended with just 60,000 votes in November, while Caitlyn Jenner’s gubernatorial run in California is off to a meme-creating start—the family has been embroiled in American pop culture since 1994, a pivotal time in media when the popularity of 24-hour cable news birthed reality television and eventually social media.
Their personal “peaks and pits” such as weddings, babies, divorces, controversies and even a heist in Paris, however, have been what kept viewers tuning into “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” for 14 years. (In keeping with the times, a new “global content” deal with Hulu will make it even more convenient for emotionally invested fans to keep up online.)
Meanwhile, the blended family’s direct influence on fashion stretches well beyond the traditional markers of fame like magazine covers, endorsement deals and ad campaigns (though, naturally they have those too) to include owned-business ventures that traverse fashion and lifestyle blogs, video games and beauty empires, to loungewear, socks, footwear, jeans, shapewear and more, with some brands selling millions’ worth of product in a single day.
The family’s global impact on fashion is lightyears away from their first boutique business, but each experience has helped inform the next. Here’s a look back at the highs and lows of the Kardashians’ fashion business ventures.
2003: Smooch and Dash
The ritzy Calabasas boutique scene was the setting for the Kardashian family’s first foray into the business of fashion. In 2003, Kourtney and Kris opened Smooch, a high-end children’s boutique in the tony L.A. suburb. The Kardashian sisters opened Dash, a trendy women’s boutique, three years later. In an interview with Variety, Kim said the family initially viewed the show as an opportunity to promote their boutiques.
The sisters went on to expand Dash, adding a store in Miami in 2009, one in New York City in 2010, as well as a popup in Southampton in 2014. The Calabasas location relocated to West Hollywood in 2012. Though Dash became a part of the plot line for spinoffs like “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami” and “Kourtney and Khloé Take The Hamptons,” the sisters closed all of the stores by 2018.
Kanye West dropped his first game-changing Yeezy sneaker five years before marrying into the Kardashian family, but his brand’s evolution from sneaker collaborator (first with Nike, then with Adidas), into an empire recently valued between $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion, has played out on the series. West brought his monochromatic/post-apocalyptic aesthetic to the runway in 2015 with Yeezy Season 1, followed by unconventional shows that included an event held on New York’s Roosevelt Island and a three-hour affair at Madison Square Garden that doubled as a listening party for his album, “The Life of Pablo.”
Last June, West inked a multi-year deal with Gap to deliver a co-branded line of apparel and accessories to the market in 2021. The public got its first look at one of the pieces in the collection Tuesday, a $200 recycled nylon unisex puffer coat available for pre-sale. Though the collection’s official release date remains unknown, a Yeezy spokesperson told Rivet parts of the brand’s partnership with Gap will be produced in the U.S., perhaps in Cody, Wyo., the heartland outpost where West has been building a Yeezy headquarters and manufacturing complex since early 2020.
2011: Kardashian Kollection
Before it was nixed in 2015, the Kardashian Kollection, sold exclusively at the now-embattled department store Sears, doled out animal-print blouses, bodycon dresses and platform stilettos at accessible price points. The partnership got the three Kardashian sisters’ names and their likenesses into 400 doors across the U.S., but it also served as a hard lesson in how to cut a deal with a national chain retailer.
In an interview with the New York Times, Kim shared how the trio split the 6 percent of proceeds from collection, leaving each sister with just a 2 percent cut before having to settle fees with their own agents and manager, mom Kris Jenner. On top of this, Kim said they have no control of the quality of the garments and were obligated to fulfill an intense calendar of promotional events.
2012: Arthur George
Novelty socks became Rob Kardashian’s venture of choice when he launched Arthur George in 2012. With a moniker modeled after his grandfather’s name and his father’s middle name, the men’s and women’s sock range became known for slogan designs such as “Dash Doll” and “Gold Digger.” Rob added baby socks and one-pieces to the line in 2017, the year after his daughter, Dream, was born. The following year, Kris invested in the company in exchange for 50 percent ownership, reportedly to help keep the business afloat.
2013: Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy
Kourtney, Kim and Khloé inked a deal with Jupi Corporation to launch Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy London, a women’s fashion brand owned by Next plc. Under the agreement, the line was sold in the U.K., Ireland, the Middle East and Russia. The collection—dense with bodycon dresses, peplum tops and tuxedo jackets—was said to mirror the sisters’ personal style at the time by embracing “Kim’s glamorous vibe, Kourtney’s eclectic taste and Khloé’s edgy style.”
2014: Kardashian Kids
The Kardashian family had baby fever when it launched Kardashian Kids with Babies R Us. In an interview with Elle, Kim said, “it was mainly Kourtney who was the inspiration, but as I got pregnant, I started to chime in. Until you have your own child, you don’t realize how important it is for fabrics to be extra soft and accessible.”
Though Kim and Kanye were notorious for dressing their first daughter, North West, in monochromatic looks that mirrored their own stylized wardobes, Kardashian Kids was chock-full of novelty animal prints and fabrics like leatherette skirts and tulle dresses for babies and girls up to size 5T.
2016: Kendall + Kylie
Having co-authored a young-adult novel in 2014, Kendall and Kylie were used to working as a duo when, two years later, they launched Kendall + Kylie, a line of ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. The collection aims to capture “the unpredictable essence of today’s young fashion lover: confident, stylish, on trend and in charge.”
Though the brand is sold by prominent retailers like Revolve and Bloomingdale’s, its ownership became a point of contention in 2020 when industry watchdog group Remake reported that Kendall + Kylie was owned by Global Brands Group (GBG), which failed to pay garment workers during the first months of the pandemic.
The brand responded to the allegation in an Instagram post, stating: “We would like to address the unfortunate and incorrect rumor that Global Brands Group owns the Kendall + Kylie brand and that we have neglected to pay factory workers in Bangladesh as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is untrue. The Kendall + Kylie brand is owned by 3072541 Canada Inc., not GBG. The brand has worked with CAA-GBG in the past in a sales and business development capacity only, but we do not currently have any relationship at all with GBG.”
2016: Good American
Though size-inclusive denim is commonplace nowadays, it was a relatively novel idea in 2016 when Khloé and business partner Emma Grede announced their new venture, Good American. The Los Angeles denim brand captured the millennial zeitgeist when it launched with body-positive marketing and sexy designs available for sizes 00-24, raking in $1 million in sales on its first day.
Early on, however, Khloé shut down sweatshop accusations stirred up after posting a behind-the-scenes look on SnapChat at how Good American jeans are made. After one viewer questioned the working conditions, Khloé clapped back on Twitter writing: “Watch your mouth. All make salaries and all are employed in L.A.! Know your info before you chime in.”
Scott Disick, the “Ross” to Kourtney’s “Rachel” and the father of her three children, is one of the few regular cast members outside the Kardashian and Jenner bloodlines. His current style, however, is far removed from the debonaire suits, ascot ties and preppy polo shirts he sported in the early seasons of KUWTK—Lord moniker included.
Disick’s current preference for fashion that straddles streetwear and loungewear is the inspiration for the Talentless brand. Dubbed “authentic apparel for self-made outsiders,” the brand sells blank and logo tees, sweats, dresses and other comfortable staples for men and women, with prices as high as $188 for a 100 percent cotton hoodie. U.K. luxury retailer Flannels recently picked up the label for an exclusive 40-piece collection.
2019: Kimono Intimates, er, Skims
Momentum for Kim’s line of “solutionwear” hit a wall the day she announced its name, Kimono, and when press further revealed that she had trademarked “Kimono Intimates Inc.” Though it was intended to be a play on her name, Kim was accused of culturally appropriating the traditional Japanese garment, resulting in the trending hashtag #KimOhNo, an open letter from the then-mayor of Kyoto, Japan, condemning the name and ultimately a rebranding.
In an Instagram post, Kim wrote: “I am always listening, learning and growing—I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me. When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind. My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name.”
Kimono was reintroduced as Skims three months later and sales didn’t skip a beat, reportedly selling out $2 million in product in the first minutes of its online launch. The shapewear collection has since adopted a “drop” approach for limited-edition collections and expanded to pajamas, robes, face masks, children’s and more. The New York Times reported that the brand is valued at $1.6 billion.
2019: Kardashian Kloset
A sign of the times (and never one to miss an opportunity), the Kardashian-Jenner family stepped into the booming luxury resale market with Kardashian Kloset, an online shop stocked with clothing from their own closets. Billed as an “opportunity to own one-of-a-kind items, while promoting sustainability,” the site sells everything from Kylie’s size 8 Alexander Wang boots for $495 to Kourtney’s leather J Brand trousers for $296.
WWD recently broke news that a Kardashian Kloset store will open June 24 at the brand-new Resorts World Hotel in Las Vegas. There, the family will offer products beyond fashion.
This isn’t the family’s first Sin City retail venture. From 2011 to 2014, the Kardashian Khaos boutique located at The Mirage Hotel and Casino sold souvenirs like Kardashian-branded embellished tees, totes, reusable cups and pens.
2020: Kendall + Kylie x The Drop
Amazon Fashion nabbed arguably two of the most influential people in the world for The Drop when it partnered with Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s fashion brand Kendall + Kylie last fall. As the retailer’s trend-led clothing line created with style influencers, the Kendall + Kylie x The Drop collection served quarantine trends such as tie-dye sweats, ’90s-era metallic tops and retro denim—riffing on what the sisters had publicly sported throughout the pandemic.
TBD (Maybe): Kylie Swim
Last month, the 23-year-old mogul with 233 million Instagram followers filed to trademark the terms Kylie Swim and Kylie Swim by Kylie Jenner earlier, eyeing a global swimwear market opportunity seen topping $29 billion by 2025, according to Statista. The filings cover swimwear, cover-ups, headwear, tops as clothing, bottoms as clothing, footwear and robes. They also include a range of accessories, such as towels and outdoor blankets; beach bags, tote bags, athletic bags, duffle bags, toiletry bags and backpacks; and sunglasses, swim goggles and swim floats.
Jenner also has trademarks for baby products.