Written by Matt Sharkey for NoDoubt.com (circa 2001):
Growing up to The Sound of Music, Muppet Movie, and Annie movie soundtracks, it is easy to sight lead singer Gwen Stefani’s earliest influences within her live performances of today. Once she starts it is near impossible to slow her down and out of the question to try and stop her.
Born October 3rd, 1969, at St. Jude’s Hospital in Fullerton, California, Gwen has spent her entire life in Southern California. That is to say only if you exclude No Doubt’s national and international tours, vacations, and her not-so-frequent-enough trips to England to visit her boyfriend.
Gwen grew up in Orange County with her parents, brothers Eric and Todd, and Sister Jill. A very close family, Gwen can recall her first live performances ever being puppet shows that she and Eric would create together and perform for their neighbors. Her first singing experiences came when she would dress up with her sister Jill and their cousins, and play “Musical House”. While “playing house” might have been an ordinary activity for young American girls, it’s not common to make it mandatory that all words be sung and not spoken.
Gwen can first recall music having an influence on her life when she was in junior high and her brother Eric would bring home two-tone ska records by artists such as Madness and The Selecter. It was at this point that she became heavily involved in the ska scene. In addition to the aforementioned bands, Gwen also got really into L.A. bands like The Untouchables and Fishbone.
In early 1987 Gwen’s brother Eric and John Spence founded what is now No Doubt. In the beginning Eric asked Gwen to share vocal duties with John. Sadly, not long after No Doubt’s incarnation, John Spence committed suicide which left Gwen to rock the mic.
Over the course of the next couple of years No Doubt played primarily to a ska crowd at clubs and parties. As each band member grew and accepted influences outside of the ska scene, more and more venues became available as places to showcase their ever-growing personal style.
Now, going into the studio to work on their fourth album, Gwen seems fascinated by all of the musical possibilities available and hopes to grow stronger as a lyricist.
“It’s incredible,” sights Gwen, “When I was growing up my parents were folk musicians and I would have never listened to Bob Dylan by choice, but now I can honestly respect so many different ways of playing music and expressing what you’re trying to say.”
One non-musical aspect of Gwen that is just as much a part of her as anything else is her interest in clothes and fashion. Admittedly a thrift store junkie, Gwen has been making her own clothes ever since her mom first made her a replica of Maria’s dress from The Sound of Music to wear during a high school talent show.
Sift through the stories laid out by the sensational media and you will find the core of Gwen Stefani who is, and has always been, someone not much different than you.
For more on Gwen, please check out Wikipedia.org.
Projects and Brands
Gwen Stefani is lead singer and a founding member of No Doubt. In 1986, Gwen was approached by her older brother Eric to sing in the band alongside John Spence. She was asked to take lead vocals in December of 1987 after John tragically committed suicide.
Gwen continues to write and sing for No Doubt and has released six albums with the band and two solo albums.
L.A.M.B. (2003-present) Founded in 2003, Gwen’s debut fashion label L.A.M.B. debuted at New York Fashion Week with the Spring collection in September. L.A.M.B. is most notable for it’s modern and unique takes on different cultures including Jamaican, Japanese, Guatemalan and Indian. The label continues to receive rave reviews from fashion’s highest critics and has gotten more sophisticated over the years. Not only does L.A.M.B. put out trendy ready-to-wear, but shoes, handbags and accessories continue to be released. Gwen is still considered a power-player in the fashion industry for her always amazing and courageous sense of style.
A high-end watch line (which sold out in two days) and shoe lines (with Royal Elastics) were released under the brand’s name.
L.A.M.B. for LeSportsac (2003-2004) In 2003, Gwen teamed up with handbag giants LeSportsac for an exclusive line which featured now iconic prints from the brand. Several seasons and styles were available.
L Fragrance (September 2007) Gwen’s debut and only fragrance released under her L.A.M.B. label which was developed with perfumer Harry Fremont. The brand teamed with Coty Inc. in 2007 and released her own fragrance that smelled of “hyacinth, white freesia, fresh pear, violet, jasmine, rose, lily, sweet pea, orange blossom, peach, frangipani, heliotrope and musk”. Gwen is said to have contributed on everything, including artwork and campaigning, for the successful fragrance. The scent was promoted alongside Gwen’s second solo album, The Sweet Escape.
L.A.M.B. for nOir (2012) An exclusive L.A.M.B. for nOir jewelry collection which debuted in 2012. The collection was said to draw inspiration from “India as well as punk references”.
L.A.M.B. x Burton Snowboards (2013) A highly anticipated Winter collection that included stylish jackets, vests, pants and beanies.
L.A.M.B. x Hanky Panky (2014) An exclusive collaboration with intimates brand Hanky Panky for a “music-inpsired” joint collection of lingerie, panties, bras and camisoles.
Harajuku Lovers (2005-present) A secondary fashion label from Gwen inspired by her love for the Harajuku shopping district in Japan. Clothing, handbags, accessories and stationary were released under the brand at a cheaper price point than L.A.M.B. The line seemed to be on a slight hiatus until late 2013 after releasing a limited edition tee-shirt line just in time for the holidays. The label relaunched their website in 2013 and Gwen had shared that a few new projects (including a cartoon and fragrance) were coming soon.
Harajuku Lovers Fragrance (2007-2011) A line of fragrances launched with Coty Inc. which included 5 signature scents (Love, Angel, Music, Baby and G). Several variations came out over the years including Wicked Style and Jingle G. The line was discontinued in September 2011 but Gwen has mentioned a comeback fragrance is on the way for Harajuku Lovers possibly in 2014.
Harajuku Mini for Target (2011-present) Harajuku Lovers and Target joined forces for a infant-tween clothing line which would be exclusively sold in select retail stores and online. Harajuku Mini debuted in November 2011 and has been releasing new clothes and accessories since featuring different themes and seasonal attire. Stationary and bedding were also available in select stores.
Harjuku Hugs (2013-present) A collaboration with Build-A-Bear that brought to life Harajuku Panda and friends that also included many cute accessories. Sold in select retail stores and online.
GX BY GWEN STEFANI
gx by Gwen Stefani (2014-present) ShoeDazzle, a high-end membership driven accessories online retailer, frequently teams up with celebrities for limited edition shoe lines and Gwen’s collaboration was announced in February 2014. The line debuted with 26 pieces (including shoes and handbags) with more are scheduled throughout the year.
DWP (DESIGN WITH PURPOSE)
DWP (Design with Purpose) (2014-present) Gwen collaborated with denim expert, Michael Glasser (founder of Seven for all Mankind and Citizens of Humanity), to create a new and more causal clothing line, DWP (Design with Purpose). The collection is notably eco-friendly and “non-denim” that is scheduled to hit select high-end retailers and online e-shops.