If you’re one of those (many) people who have looked at an editorial photo spread in a fashion magazine and have wondered, “Who would wear that?,” it sounds like Fashion Star could be the reality show for you. Unlike Project Runway, where contestants are charged with creating outfits out of car parts or things from a hardware store. The emphasis at Fashion Star is squarely on customer appeal. And we’re not talking only high-end customers with a few thousand bucks to drop on a dress: the first show features buyers from Macy’s and H&M as well as Saks Fifth Avenue, who bid on contestants' designs. Their choices aren't theoretical—winning designs will be available in stores the day after the show airs.
It’s a gimmick, to be sure, but it also makes the valuable point that designers who hope to make a living need to be able to actually sell clothes, not just make a big splash on a runway. Target markets, customer segments, sales strategies—pretty boring stuff for creative types, but smart designers don't ignore it. That’s what business managers are for.