“Project Runway,” “Fashion Star” among most popular of fashion reality TV shows

Published by adviser, Author: Katie Ellis, Date: March 7, 2013

Fashion is everywhere, from the magazines featured on newsstands to books to popular television shows.  For years, fashion has been a big part of popular culture, and with so many shows now highlighting the industry, there’s bound to be something out there to appeal to everyone.  “Project Runway”, “Fashion Star”, and “The Rachel Zoe Project” are just three reality-based shows currently on television that shed light on the best parts of the industry.

“Project Runway” is one of television’s longest running shows that has made household names out of its mentor, judges, and contestants.  Ever since 2004, supermodel Heidi Klum has been hosting the competition program on Lifetime, which follows a group of designers on their quest to becoming successful fashion designers and the proud owners of their own line.

Tim Gunn serves as mentor to the contestants who are tasked to create different ensembles every week that test their ability to create wearable designs, from unusual materials purchased from supermarkets, to more traditional materials bought at fabric stores like “MOOD Designer Fabrics.”  Gunn visits the designers in the studio while they’re creating their looks and offers them advice before their looks hit the runway, where Klum, Michael Kors, and Nina Garcia critique their designs.

After weeks of intense competition, three designers are given the honor of showcasing a collection during New York Fashion Week.  Upon being crowned the winner of “Project Runway,” the winning designer is given a host of prizes, including $100,000 to start their own line and a fashion spread in a magazine.

By far, the biggest success story to come from the show is Christian Siriano, who is known for creating custom gowns for celebrities like Christina Hendricks and Sarah Hyland.

This season of “Project Runway” features a twist on the traditional format of the show with designers now competing in teams for the ultimate prize.  You can watch the show’s 11th season when it airs Thursdays on Lifetime at 9 p.m.

While it may take the contestants of “Project Runway” weeks to achieve success, the contestants of “Fashion Star” become successful virtually instantaneously.  Twelve designers compete weekly for the opportunity to have their designs sold in Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Express stores in select locations across the United States and online the day after each episode broadcasts.

The representatives from these retailers can offer the designers anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to reproduce their clothing.  At the end of the competition, one designer will walk away with $3 million and the opportunity to create complete collections for each of the retailers sponsoring the show, and the title of the next “Fashion Star.”

Industry megastars Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos serve as both mentors and judges on the show, while Glamour Magazine’s Louise Roe will take on the job of being the show’s host when season two airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

“The Rachel Zoe Project” offers an inside look into the life of Hollywood’s premiere stylist Rachel Zoe and the fashion empire that she has built for herself across the country.

Cameras have been following her journey to fashion domination for nearly five years as she has worked to create her own fashion line and style A-list celebrities for major events.  Her most notable clients include Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, whom she styled most recently for the Academy Awards.

On her show, she can be seen jet setting across the world to attend Fashion Week presentations and juggling a number of high profile magazine shoots.  While watching the show, you’ll likely notice that Zoe has quite a few “beyond major” catchphrases that you’ll want to incorporate into your vocabulary.  Catch Zoe’s show on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Instead of heading to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of your favorite magazine to get your fashion fix, simply turn on your television to watch any one of these popular shows.  Other fashion forward programs that are likely to interest fashion fans include Bravo’s “It’s a Brad, Brad World” and E!’s “Fashion Police.”


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