The veritable “American Idol” of the fashion world, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and designer John Varvatos are the style-savvy judges – or “mentors” – who will preside over the selection of America’s next top designers.
But for the first time ever, a major network television reality series is being tied in with a major eCommerce push. And it’s adding a whole new element of viewer addiction to the appointment TV experience created “Fashion Star.”
“People follow the show they same way they would when watching a hockey game,” says the show’s mastermind E.J. Johnston. “They want to see the surprise and delight of what comes out on the runway, the unknown of who gets sent home, and the end goal: who ends up winning.”
‘Watch it Today and Wear it Tomorrow’
It’s a tag line you’ve probably heard more times than you can count during the promotional campaign leading up to Tuesday’s premiere of “Fashion Star.” But there is, indeed, truth in advertising.
On every show, two designers square off on the runway with their latest designs. After a critique form the famous mentors mentioned above, the show’s real heavyweights – the buyers – make an offer for the collections on display. The highest bid from a buyer – Terron E. Schaefer from Saks Fifth Avenue, Nicole Christie from H&M, and Caprice Willard from Macy’s – determines which retail outlet will sell the garments… immediately after the show.
Although other creative bells and whistles are thrown into the program to increase its dramatic and competitive appeal, the eCommerce connection is one of the most innovative reality TV elements rolled out in quite some time.
According to arrangements announced publicly before the show’s debut, Saks is stocking “Fashion Star” designs in each of the company’s 46 locations. H&M, meanwhile, will offer garments seen on the show in at least 100 American stores. And Macy’s is using its iconic Manhattan flagship to launch the new items.
All three of the stores, however, will make the clothes they’ve individually claimed available for purchase online. What’s more, the enterprise also marks H&M’s inaugural foray into the eCommerce arena.
An Overnight Sales Success
In addition to the program’s ratings success on NBC, it looks like the show has also inspired retail success for the participating eCommerce players.
“Last night, Macy’s proved to be the most free-spending of the stores,” MSNBC reported, “purchasing a total of three looks in several iterations, while H&M may in fact have the best eye. Sarah Parrout’s cut-out mini-dress, which she showed in turquoise cotton and black leather — and which H&M sold for $19.95 — was snapped up online in under 45 minutes, according to H&M.“
The dress, however, is still available in stores, H&M says. However, the winning “Fashion Star” design – a zipper mini skirt by Orly Shani – may be harder to find. Despite sporting the highest price tag of all the designs at $350, Saks is already sold out.