Why NBC's Fashion Star May Be a Fashion Reality Show Game Changer

NBC's new fashion reality show Fashion Star, which debuts tonight, might just be the very first one to leave contestants with an actual successful
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NBC's new fashion reality show Fashion Star, which debuts tonight, might just be the very first one to leave contestants with an actual successful
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NBC's new fashion reality show

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We spoke to Caprice Willard, who's the vice president and regional planning manager of women's apparel at Macy's and also a judge on the show. We asked her about the probability of Macy's working with any of the contestants after the show is over. "We ultimately have one final winner, but from my vantage point, every designer that is ultimately purchased through the course of the show, their career is basically launched the minute one of us writes them an order," she said. "The opportunities are endless regardless of how far they go in the show. I think there’s a number of designers you might see in our stores."

There are a few challenges here, too. Obviously the three retailers involved have no idea how well the pieces will sell in their respective stores. It's going to depend on how many people tune in tonight and are excited by what they see. Willard acknowledged that the process of buying a piece on the show happens much more quickly than when they're working with designers in real life--plus, as she mentioned, stores usually have relationships with the designers and brands from whom they buy; the contestants on Fashion Star are wild cards. But Willard was ultimately impressed with how the contestants carved out "niches" for themselves.

The other hurdle, which seems like a tall one, is whether or not the designers can satisfy the requirements of all three stores, who have different price points and aesthetics. But these days that's becoming the reality for a lot of established designers, too: to figure out how to maintain their brand image and still make their brands accessible at different price points.

When asked about fashion industry's mainstream appeal right now, Johnston feels the time is ripe to tap it as a broader source of entertainment. "[Fashion]’s as broad and as deep as anything out there," he said. "We always compare it to sports. Fashion is universal."

Will you be watching Fashion Star tonight?