With sales of designer goods plunging like a Hollywood starlet’s neckline, the fashion industry is looking to jump-start spending. Designers say print advertising doesn’t cut it anymore, so they’re lobbying harder than ever to outfit celebrities for red-carpet appearances, the Wall Street Journal reports. Awards shows provide millions in free marketing worldwide and reach regular consumers, not just luxury shoppers.
“In spite of everything that’s going on,” says a designer whose gowns have been worn by Hilary Swank and Jada Pinkett Smith, “people will still turn to the red carpet for entertainment and escapism.” Designers—some of whom have cut costs by canceling fashion-week shows—are making custom shoes and jewelry and flying gowns to Los Angeles to woo stylists already inundated with calls. (Read more fashion industry stories.)