Tina Knowles has been inching her way into the fashion world. First the mother of singer Beyonce began designing the outfits for Destiny’s Child and then Beyonce, once she left the group. Next came the launch of fashion clothing company Dereon, a partnership with her daughter and a junior lifestyle collection that debuted at retail for the Holiday 2006 season. Now Knowles has created her own line, Miss Tina, featuring figure-flattering clothing for a wide range of sizes.
It’s a smart move on Knowles part, says fashion expert Kathryn Finney, founder of the Budget Fashionista. “This kind of line is a growing segment, mostly due to shift in cultural attitudes about full-figured women, a shift that can be attributed to the rise of successful, stylish African-American celebrities like Queen Latifah, Oprah Winfrey, MoNique, and Jill Scott. These are amazing, beautiful, fashionable women who just happen wear a size 14+.
“ Initially available only via Home Shopping Network, Miss Tina recently inked a deal with Walmart. The 30-piece collection includes everything from dresses to gym wear available in sizes 2 to 20. And Knowles has made the line affordable, with most items under $20. The line, which debuted at Walmart in October (it was officially created in August 2007), is named after Knowles’s nickname.
“The celebrity factor will help push the line success if Beyonce is involved in the promotion,” says Finney. “When one thinks of celebrity fashionistas, Beyonce and her mother are not the first people to come to mind. That being said, Wal-Mart has struggled with how to address their plus-size fashion lines and perhaps this line will help them in this regard,” she points out. But she adds that the same effect would be doubtful if the promotion solely rested on Knowles. “Most people don’t know Beyonce’s last name, so the connection will be missed by a large segment of potential consumers,” Finney explains.
Miss Tina is under the umbrella of About Beyond Productions LLC, which was founded in May 2004 by Tina and Beyonce Knowles, and Jason and Arthur Rabin of Wear Me Apparel / Kids Headquarters. For Walmart, Finney does not project the Miss Tina line to introduce the store to a new segment of shoppers, but rather it will appeal to the current Walmart consumer. “Will Beyonce fans flock to the collection? Probably, not. They want to dress like Beyonce, not her mom. Will it bring new consumers into Walmart who would otherwise not shop at the store? Probably, not. Will it appeal to existing Walmart customers? Probably. But that may be due more to styling and less to the name,” says Finney.
On the fashion front, Knowles also wrote Destiny’s Style, published by HarperCollins in 2002 and worked as a fashion stylist, interior designer and served as fashion consultant and costume designer on various film projects that include The Pink Panther, Austin Powers Goldmember, Dreamgirls, Cadillac Records, and Obsessed. She was awarded an ACE Award from the Accessories Council of America for Excellence in Accessory Design, the VH1/Vogue Fashion Award for Best Costumes, the Golden Hanger Award and E! Entertainment’s Award for Best Fashion.