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Fashion Star Season 2 Preview [VIDEO and Q&A] 

Photo Credit: NBC
Photo Credit: NBC

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed this show last season. I’m always up for a new fashion or design show if the concept is fresh. I liked the crop of designers last season. I liked what mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson, and John Varvatos brought to the table. The “new concept” that caught and held my attention was the presence of the buyers. It was very entertaining (and often very informative) to hear their opinions on the designs. The bidding process can be exciting and even surprising, and it’s fun to watch the designers react to that. Of course, there were things I didn’t love about the show and I hope they’ve been addressed and tweaked. I guess we’ll all find out together when we watch the season two premiere.

TV Goodness participated in a press call with Fashion Star’s new host Louise Roe as well as executive producer Ben Silverman. Just listening to their enthusiasm about the changes they’ve made and about these new designers made us giddy. Here are some highlights from the Q&A:

Q: What worked the first season and what did you need to tweak?

Ben Silverman: “..we obviously felt the buyers really playing the game worked amazing.”  This season “it’s even more competitive with the buyers and I just think the audience is more and more interested in real-world dynamics and shows that have real-world results and application.” “…on the tweaking side, [we] felt that we needed to get our mentors more heavily invested and connected to the process and also create a little bit of a dynamic between the buyers and the mentors.” “But the big change this year is the mentors actually have teams and are actively participating with specific designers week in, week out giving them not only advice but also working with them to try and lobby and get the stores to buy their products and their clothes.”

Q: What makes a designer worthy of a being brand rather than just someone who makes clothes?

Louise Roe: “…for some of them it was a lot of the learning curve on actually what’s more marketable and commercial, what is going to sell and how do you balance that with your own core aesthetic and the things that you believe in.” “…they took a lot of advice not just from their team mentors. I think what was cool to see — especially as the series progressed — was that yes Jessica, Nicole and John had their own team members,” but they were also “teaching the designers about brands.”

Ben Silverman: “…from Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, John Varvatos, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Express you’re getting the ultimate boot camp in not only design development but brand development.” “I think it is so profound within the fashion world that you connect your personality to the brand and that also creates authenticity.”

Q: How do you go about selecting the designers to be on your show?

Ben Silverman: “…this year specifically because the show was already on air and people saw the clothes for sale and in store and saw three or four of the people from last year not just sell through the store but continue to sell and expand their line, we had an incredible pool of talent. Everyone from the kind of F-I-T boy genius to a woman who was actually working at Elie Tahari and quit to come go on the show.” “…there were accomplished people within the fashion world already who just had never been able to get any traction on their own brands as well as new [designers] who have all the promise and opportunity…”

Q: How do you choose which department stores will be the buyers?

Ben Silverman: “…a ton of retailers who wanted to get involved with the show recognize that the show was an incredible proving ground for new designers and they’re constantly looking for new voices and new creativity.” “…specifically, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Express — are just three real brands. They’re on main street in America.” “They are the ultimate stores and…I don’t think NBC would have done the show unless there were stores like that involved.”

Q: How does a designer maintain their individuality but still take direction from their mentor?

Louise Roe: The mentors “are blunt and very honest or tactful. But I think it’s interesting to see how each designer reacts to that criticism because sometimes they do take it personally and at first they don’t listen and then they learn the hard way. Other times they really kind of do change their whole idea that week based on their mentor’s advice and then it’s kind of wow what’s going to happen right in front of the buyers.” That’s “one of the key interesting narratives of the whole journey and season because some people don’t want to listen, you know, and so it’s fascinating.” “Ben said these three [mentors are] incredibly successful in very diverse ways designers essentially giving you advice that you could never, never get otherwise.”

Q: Why does this show work?

Ben Silverman: “…there’s so much drama for the contestants on the show, every episode there’s a winner and a loser. But we wanted that same drama for the mentors, for Jessica, John and Nicole. And then obviously the buyers, this is a real job and I think that’s an element that we’re seeing in television that’s kind of exploded since The Apprentice — which is the fascination with real work.”

Need a little something to tide you over until the premiere? Her’s a look at what’s to come on this season of Fashion Star.

Season 2 of Fashion Star premieres tonight at 8/7c on NBC.

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