Ellen DeGeneres Was Inspired to Launch a Fashion Line When People Started Dressing Like Her

Ellen DeGeneres is known for her authenticity and supporting individuality. And when it comes to fashion, that doesn’t deter the talk show host from remaining true to who she is.

“I had a way of dressing that isn’t the way most women were dressing,” DeGeneres told Footwear News. I started seeing women come to the show attempting to dress like me. I would see versions of myself in the audience, and I thought, ‘There’s a market here.’” This led to launch of her lifestyle brand ED Ellen DeGeneres, but before that, she gives credit to confidence for her influential style.

“I got more comfortable in dressing in the way I want to dress instead of what I think I’m supposed to dress like,” she said. “That’s what is great about fashion. It should be your own unique, individual expression. It doesn’t need to be what everyone else is doing.”

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres
CREDIT: Courtesy of ED Ellen DeGeneres

See what else she had to say:

Style evolution:
“We all look back on what we thought was OK at the time, and it turns out that it wasn’t. I don’t think any us look back and go, “I looked better then.” Maybe our face and our bodies, but never our clothes and think that was a better style. Somehow we can never get it right. Every decade we are wrong. If you’ve seen me in the 1970s and ’80s, you’ll agree with me that my style has gotten better. But also that’s more confidence too.”

Proudest fashion moment:
“Wearing the Björk swan dress when I was hosting the Emmys in 2001. It was a very special Emmys.”

Ellen DeGeneres Emmys 2001
Ellen DeGeneres onstage wearing the famous swan dress while hosting the 2001 Emmy Awards.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

Most significant milestone:
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a pretty big deal, but also being the first woman on the show for Johnny Carson to call me over and to sit down. Getting married and marrying my wife was a big moment in my life. I’m blessed with lots of answers to that question.”

Other influential women:
“Obviously Oprah. Where she came from and her life and what’s she accomplished is pretty amazing. Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks and whoever the woman is who invented Spanx. We have to thank her.”

Design process:
“We basically took everything that I like to wear, and then if I see things that I’m inspired by, I take pictures and show them this is what I want. With everything — whether it’s shoes, clothing or furniture. It’s a collaboration.”

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