'Fashion Star' markets mass appeal

Judges, from left, Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos, and Nicole Richie are shown during the premiere episode of "Fashion Star." Garments featured on the new reality show will be available in stores the minute an episode ends.

David Brancaccio: A brand new reality show about fashion hits TV screens tonight, and as Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports, brand is the operative word for this thing on NBC's called "Fashion Star."


Eve Troeh: "Fashion Star" is "Project Runway"'s more materialistic little sister. Designers compete to launch a clothing line. But here, haute couture is not du jour. It's about mass appeal.

"Fashion Star" mentor Nicole Richie gives this advice.

Nicole Richie on "Fashion Star": You can't just be an artist. At a certain point, you have to be a business woman as well.

"Fashion Star" spotlights the unsung power brokers of fashion: retail buyers. Reps from Macy's, Saks and H&M bid on each round's winning design. And that design goes on sale the minute the episode ends.

Retail strategist Candace Corlett says that's what shoppers expect.

Candace Corlett: Soon as they learn of it they want to be able to have it. Six months from now, they'll be onto something else.

NBC shot the show about six months ago -- that bought time to mass-produce the winners. "Fashion Star"'s retail partners have already bet big on the clothes -- and the show's -- success.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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