‘Fashion Star’ contestants dish on which buyer is the hardest to please ahead of finale
After ten weeks of creating different garments in the hopes of receiving bids from H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s on the fashion reality series “Fashion Star,” the remaining three contestants discuss which buyer is the hardest to design for.
Kara Laricks, a designer who specializes in creating women’s clothes modeled after menswear items, loves luxury garments. Laricks says it’s the niche she loves to design in, so it was no surprise she was repeatedly purchased by Saks Fifth Avenue.
“I’d have to say, I loved designing for Terron (Schaefer, the buyer from Saks). I loved designing for that Saks customer,” Laricks says. “It was definitely more difficult to design for Macy’s and for H&M.”
“As I was watching the competition, I just kept thinking if I had known this is how it was going to turn out, I sure would have attempted to try (designing low-end items) a little earlier because it was thrilling to see people get what they want at prices that they could afford,” she says.
Laricks always felt limited as a designer before she became a contestant on “Fashion Star.” She admits she could never afford enough fabric to produce full garments. And that’s the biggest change Laricks sees in her as she heads into the finale.
“For me, the biggest change was to be able to see what I was capable of when I had the resources to create full garments week by week,” she says. “So, if a dress is a possibility, I could do a tailcoat. And if a tailcoat was a possibility, I could do a full-length dress. And it got more and more exciting to see what I was capable of with the resources.”
Laricks’ design frustrations were also felt by another finalist on the show, Nzimiro Oputa. Even though Oputa was purchased by H&M and Macy’s more than once over the last ten weeks, he still feels those two were the hardest buyers to have in mind when designing a garment.
“Looking back at the show, I thought it was Saks, but it wasn’t. I think it was H&M and Macy’s for me. Only because I was trying to…bring this flare of uniqueness to my designs,” he says.
“I was always over-thinking ‘what can I do?’ Because there’s like a hundred designers in Macy’s, and H&M is so cutting edge and trendy so how could I be different? I think it was hard for me to not over-think,” Oputa continues. “The times I did get a buy, I just let it go and did what I do best. But the weeks I over-thought and over-did it, (the buyers) would always say ‘you know what, there’s too much detail in it.’”
Going into the “Fashion Star” finale, Oputa knows his biggest struggle will be picking the right fabrics for the buyers. However, he says he’s improved in that regard since his first week on the show.
“It’s the everyday guy that you’re catering to, so you have to make sure your fabrications are correct.” Oputa also adds, “and of course the details - learning to not ‘over-detail’ my garments.”
The third contestant competing for the role of the next great fashion icon is Ronnie Escalante. He didn’t feel that any one buyer was difficult to design for, but that they were all difficult as a unit.
“It was a challenge,” Escalante says. “Sometimes you think, okay, I’m making this for Saks, but it ends up not going to Saks. And each challenge you just try to think of everybody, and try and incorporate that in your designs and hope that all of them will bid on your garments.”
However, he feels confident going into the finale based on how much he’s grown and learned on the show.
“Before, (I) was a little bit unsure of (myself) , but as the show progressed, I pretty much know who I am and what I want,” Escalante says. “And that’s the best part – gaining that confidence and (having) your designs executed and getting shown to everybody on national TV.”
Don’t miss the season finale of “Fashion Star” Tuesday, May 15 at 8pm ET/PT on CTV two.