Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson guide designers in NBC’s “Fashion Star”

Fashion Star, Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson

Move over, Heidi Klum — network tv is taking over the runway. On Tuesday, March 13, NBC launches its own search for the next big brand in fashion with the new reality series Fashion Star.

Hosted by model Elle Macpherson, and featuring celebrity mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and designer John Varvatos, Fashion Star will give 14 unknown designers the chance to win a multimillion-dollar prize and the opportunity to launch their collections in three of America’s largest retailers: Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Buyers from the retailers, Caprice Willard of Macy’s, Terron E. Schaefer of Saks and Nicole Christie of H&M, will serve as judges, determining the winners as they vie every week for the right to purchase and exclusively carry the work of the up-and-coming designers. Unlike other fashion-oriented series,  Fashion Star’s featured garments will be available online immediately after the show and stocked in stores the next morning.

“One of the things that was very important to us … was to create a show that was as much about shopping as it was about fashion,” Macpherson explains. “It’s for every woman and every pocketbook.

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“Most reality shows, you vote with your telephone,” adds Schaefer, “but this one you vote with your wallet and you wear the winner tomorrow.”

Contestants who don’t sell any of their items to the buyers will be up for elimination.

“There’s a difference in being an artist and being a businessperson, and you have to be both in this industry,” says Richie, who debuted her first fashion collection in 2008. “It’s very important to know your customer and have a good relationship with the retailers and respect the retailer’s opinion.”

Richie and the other mentors worked with the designers to develop their vision and brand, something she believes really benefited the competitors.

“We all bring something different,” she says. “You know, John is a legend. He’s an icon. And Jessica knows this business. She built her brand from the ground up. We’re not competing against each other. We were all working together at making each designer the best version of themselves.”

Fashion Star > NBC > premieres March 13 at 9:30p


Photo Credit: © NBC Universal, Inc. Credit: John Russo