Nicole Richie reveals her biggest frustration working on ‘Fashion Star’
Nicole Richie is the mastermind behind the fashion lines “House of Harlow 1960” and “Winter Kate”. Thanks to the new reality-fashion competition series “Fashion Star,” on which Richie is a mentor, the hard work that goes into these and other collections is finally being showcased on television.
Richie says one of the biggest draws of the show is letting audiences see what goes on behind the closed doors of the fashion world.
“All of America will see something walk down the runway that they think is actually fantastic, and then hear the buyer’s feedback of why they’re not putting in their stores. It’s really informative and really interesting to see why it doesn’t,” she says.
“Fashion Star” follows a group of aspiring designers as they create weekly runways in the hopes of having each of the featured buyers, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and H&M, purchase their designs to sell in their stores.
Richie’s role as mentor is to put aside her own design aesthetic and encourage each of the designers to be the very best versions of themselves. She says she fulfills her role by having a realistic and relatable conversation with each contestant when they show her their finished products.
“When we were in the design studio, I was always pretending like I was in a closet asking my friend, ‘Before I step out into the world, what do I look like?’” she says. “And everybody wants that honest friend before they go to dinner or go to an event. And so I kind of took that role of being their friend in giving them the good, the bad and the ugly, not in a mean or judge-y way, but actually trying to be their friend.”
That said, Richie’s not afraid to tell the designers when something doesn’t work for their collections.
“It’s important to keep your signature during each collection. If you’re not someone who does printed pants, I wouldn’t necessarily say put something in your collection just because that’s on trend,” she says. “As a designer it is important to stay on trend but not really go out of who you are as a person or who you are as a design house. Something does have to make sense. I wouldn’t say that every designer in America has to make a printed pant.”
Richie says that while she tries to bring out the best in the contestants through her advice, it’s the buyers whose opinions really matter.
“On one hand I am encouraging these artists to go with their gut, and to truly listen to who they are so that they do have their own signature,” she says. “On the other hand, it’s important to listen to buyers and not even necessarily listen to me – I mean I’m just giving them advice, I’m not telling them what to do. If you are going to last in this industry, it is important to understand your customer and also understand your retailer if you’re going to have a long relationship with the retailers.”
But sometimes it’s the buyers who cause the biggest headaches for Richie. She says she knows exactly what it’s like for the contestants to face the buyers on the “Fashion Star” stage.
“The biggest challenge for me is my frustration with the buyers, only because we work so closely with these designers,” she says. “They do work very hard under very small time constraints, and it’s always sad to see someone go home and it’s also sad just to see their clothes not get bought. As a designer, I can relate to working so hard and really believing in a piece and then having it not be bought.”
“But that is the fashion business for you,” she adds. “That’s just that.”
“Fashion Star” airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET on CTV two. You can watch episodes online at CTV.ca