‘Fash­ion Star’ clothes to be in stores the next day

The Washington Times Daily - - Television -

The stakes are high. The judges are bru­tal. The chal­lenges are dif­fi­cult. And the con­tes­tants are de­ter­mined to be the next Calvin Klein or Ralph Lau­ren. Sound fa­mil­iar?

NBC’S “Fash­ion Star,” a re­al­ity TV show that de­buts at 9:30 p.m. on Tues­day, is sim­i­lar to Life­time Tele­vi­sion’s “Project Run­way” ex­cept that the wannabe de­sign­ers won’t have to wait un­til they make it big to get their cre­ations into stores. Some of the fash­ions will be on sale at Saks Fifth Av­enue, Macy’s and H&M the day af­ter each pre­re­corded episode airs. The win­ner will get a to­tal of $6 mil­lion in or­ders for their designs from all three re­tail­ers.

“This is not just a com­pe­ti­tion where you win and you don’t know what to do next,” said Ni­cole Christie, spokes­woman for H&M’S North Amer­i­can di­vi­sion and one of three judges on the one-hour show. “Ev­ery week we’re cre­at­ing brands.”

“Fash­ion Star,” which is hosted by lin­gerie de­signer and for­mer model Elle Macpher­son, comes at a time when it’s par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult for un­known de­sign­ers to get their clothes into stores. In the weak econ­omy, as­pir­ing de­sign­ers have found it more dif­fi­cult to get loans to start their col­lec­tions. And re­tail­ers have been re­ly­ing more on big­name de­sign­ers with deep pock­ets that can split mar­ket­ing and other costs as­so­ci­ated with car­ry­ing their clothes in stores.

The 14 con­tes­tants on “Fash­ion Star,” who were cho­sen af­ter a na­tion­wide search, have a range of ex­pe­ri­ence. Among them, there’s a for­mer teacher. There’s also an Aus­tralian-born for­mer model whose clothes al­ready are sold at Bar­ney’s. And then there’s Lizzie Parker, a for­mer Mi­crosoft soft­ware en­gi­neer who lives in Sam­mam­mish, Wash., and sells her women’s knitwear designs at a nearby store she owns.

Each week, “Fash­ion Star” con­tes­tants make a dif­fer­ent ar­ti­cle of cloth­ing, like a gown or sport jacket, in three vari­a­tions us­ing dif­fer­ent fab­rics, pat­terns or de­sign tech­niques. Dur­ing the first episode, for in­stance, the de­sign­ers’ task is to make some­thing that de­fines them.

The con­tes­tants get ad­vice from a panel of men­tors that in­clude singer Jes­sica Simp­son, whose epony­mous fash­ion busi­ness gen­er­ates $1 bil­lion in an­nual sales; Ni­cole Richie, whose fash­ion busi­ness in­cludes a new cloth­ing line bear­ing her name for QVC; and menswear de­signer John Var­vatos. The panel mem­bers of­fer ad­vice on the de­sign­ers’ work by push­ing them to be more orig­i­nal, for in­stance, and steer­ing them away from us­ing cer­tain fab­rics.

Re­tail ex­ec­u­tives from each of the three re­tail­ers bid to pur­chase and ex­clu­sively carry the work of one or more of the de­sign­ers. At the end of each episode, one de­signer whose cre­ations weren’t picked is elim­i­nated from the show.

Dur­ing the first episode, more than half of the de­sign­ers didn’t get of­fers from the stores. And the store ex­ec­u­tives of­fer sharp-tongued crit­i­cism for some of them.

The show was taped six months ago, so shop­pers will be able to buy the win­ning designs on­line im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing each episode. The designs, which will be sold un­der the “Fash­ion Star” brand, will be in stores the next day. Saks will carry them in all of its stores, H&M in 100 of its 236 U.S. stores and Macy’s in its flag­ship lo­ca­tion in Man­hat­tan.

Kather­ine Jenk­ins

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.