Retail Takes a Bite Out of Reality TV

FashionstarpicOkay, so it’s confession time. I’m pretty sure the week in Vegas for GlobalShop 2012 did this to me, but in any event, confess I must. Here goes.

I have a thing for celebrities. And…reality TV.

I know, I know – it’s wrong. Why would I enjoy anything that involves celebrities (who aren’t even real people for god’s sake!) and “reality” television, which is now so scripted it’s ludicrous to even call it “reality.”

Well, before you come at me with your judgment – I have plenty of my own – hear me out.

It involves retail this time.

Interested? I thought so.

Our fabulous friends at H&M, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue are up to something brilliant. And it involves Elle Macpherson (otherwise known as “The Body”), Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson (so love her!) and fashion designer John Varvatos. It also involves a reality TV competition featuring 14 wannabe fashion designers with a dream of making it big.

One of them will. But not before retail benefits from this new competition, so aptly titled, "Fashion Star."

H&M, Macy’s and Saks will each have a buyer LIVE on the show making bids against the other retail buyers to purchase the designs featured, so they can be sold in their stores – the very next day.

(Pausing so you can all gasp in admiration and excitement. I told you it was brilliant.)

So, we’ve got a fashion competition featuring uber-hot and talented celebrities (although I have no idea who that John guy is) and three hot retailers actively participating in the show and then driving viewers into their stores to purchase the designs they’ve seen the night before on television.

Are you kidding me? If I loved this idea anymore I would have to dip it in dark chocolate sauce and eat it.

At the end of the 10-episodes, one very lucky designer will be awarded an exclusive capsule line to be placed in all three stores.

Fashion Star airs on NBC Tuesday evenings from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. Since I don’t have TV (how very Portland, Ore., of me, eh?), I will be going to the gym or my sister’s to watch. Will you? Leave your comments below about the show, the concept and your take after viewing.

My prediction? Reality TV heaven with a slice of delicious retail on the side.

-Heather Strang


  1. I gotta say, this is a fabulous concept.

    I am excited to see how it all goes, both from the popularity of the show and how the resulting merchandise fairs. If it is anything like the designer products available (for a mini-second) at Target, H&M and others then it could be a big money maker for H&M, Macy's and Saks. They must have tiered quality levels?

    I am not really looking forward to fighting a mob for these products though. Hopefully, they figure out a way to get around that.

    John Varvatos for the record is fab, very much a manly line but his cashmere sweaters, arm warmers and collab with Converse are all fantastic.

    Write another post once it's aired a few times with what you are thinking of it!

    PS. Portland rocks, I am in LA and don't have cable. Swear by my Hulu streaming.

  2. Just realized that they have an online store hooked up to their website. Genius… but I don't shop online for clothes. :(

    I wish they at least had a review section available so that you can get betters ideas on the fit, etc.

  3. Amy,

    Yes! I will have to do a post update on how it's all unfolding.

    And thank you for the tip on John Varvatos. :) I'm with you on passing on the online clothes shopping, but maybe since H&M, Macy's and Saks are higher end we won't see the same kind of massive hoarding that Target has experienced with its limited edition items. It will be interesting to see how it all goes, that's for sure.

    Thanks so much for your comments! Feel free to email or post your thoughts on the show as well.

  4. Hi Heather. I am not a reality TV fan, but the "retail" element of Design Star fascinates me. I was hoping to see how they merchandised the products, perhaps with mini pop-up shops, but it looks like most of the action is through online sales. Boo. I'm visiting a Macy's today and curious to see if they have any in-store Design Star promo signage, at least. I'm curious to see your follow-up now that it has aired a few times.

  5. Becky,

    Did you see anything in-store? From the release, I thought there would be in-store promotions. However, maybe they are keeping it online to keep the hoarders at bay (a good idea but not as fun).

    Will be fun to see where this goes. Let me know your thoughts as well if you watch the show.

    Thanks so much!
    Heather :)