Celebrity activists collaborate closely with big businesses to promote their image, cultivate their brand, and make money— is Lady Gaga one of the latest?
Lady Gaga is the latest celebrity to throw her hat in the ring of the beauty brand market.
Her long rumored makeup line and first major business venture, Haus Laboratories, is (almost) here. She debuted the collection with posts on Instagram, letting fans know the purpose of the line: freedom of expression. Instead of developing a line with the intention to create a certain aesthetic, Haus Laboratories seeks to promote the idea that makeup should be a form of expression as unique as the people who use it. The line will focus on high pigment, color-based products because, according to Gaga, "Color is completely transformative—it's powerful, it's beautiful, and it's how I found my voice with makeup."
With the official launch happening this September, the Haus Laboratories products will consist of "multi-use color items for cheeks, eyes, and lips in six shade families and kits containing all three products priced at a relatively affordable $49." Taking a note from Fenty Beauty, Gaga demonstrated her desire for high quality products at a reasonable price. Similarly, she took the reigns of the brand by "developing formulas, mixing the shades, designing the packaging and components, as well as casting the models and collaborating on styling, direction, and being the creative director, pulling all-nighters making boards." Her creative control was central in her choice to, unlike other celebrity makeup moguls, launch the line exclusively with Amazon.
In an interview with The Business of Fashion, Gaga backed up her decision, explaining, "There are companies that see me and what I stand for and the way that I view the world, and if it's not perfectly in line with what they do...They'll be like, 'Can you just change half of the equation?'" Lady Gaga said. "The answer is no. No deal. No message of self-acceptance, no deal. This [deal with Amazon] was so wonderful because this was like, 'Let's make a deal, let's make a deal to change the world with their beauty.'"
Yet, Amazon has arguably become a monopoly. For Haus Laboratories to be the first major beauty brand to be sold exclusively on Amazon could be seen as controversial, particularly because the line's message of freedom of self-expression conflicts with concerning reports about Amazon's oppressive work conditions. While Gaga chose to collaborate with Amazon because of the accessibility it offers consumers and the ability to take creative liberties, it's difficult to turn a blind eye to the star's hypocrisy.
Their partnership is especially odd considering Gaga's previous activism. She's been an outspoken member of the LGBTQ community as a bisexual woman, a brave supporter of sexual assault victims, an advocate for mental health awareness, and a philanthropist for many causes. Now, the pop star is considered a political performer, openly protesting Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016. However, the New York City native's partnership with Amazon shows complicity in the company's well-documented workers' rights abuses, a company which was driven out of NYC after widespread opposition. It's another demonstration of the celebrity effect, in which high profile figures behave according to the rule, "I will do the right thing when it's convenient to me."
Only time will tell if anyone will speak out about star's choice; nonetheless, many are excited to see what the beauty and fashion icon has developed. The line will be available for preorder starting July 15th at 3 PM on both the Haus Laboratories website and Amazon (again, planned for delivery in September). The choice of what you support is up to you.
In the meantime, you can watch the official, full promo for Haus Laboratories below.
HAUS LABORATORIES | OUR HAUS. YOUR RULES. www.youtube.com
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