Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It's that time again where one more reality show I'll be asked about is about to premier. Fashion Star on NBC will invade America's homes tonight as yet another "reality" show that is anything but real, but let's not get lost in the facts right away.
Wanna-be-designers will compete for the privilege of being selected to have one of their garments chosen by buyers from H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's each week as explained in the shows preview.
As in any "reality" show there's nothing real about having one's life in from of lights and cameras, but then there are the particulars of the specific shows. One can't truly present the life and mindset of a survivor when that "survivor" has a safety net which is that he knows he doesn't risk starvation and death because the show's producers will always be there to ensure that doesn't happen.
As a disclaimer let me say that I have not seen the show, I am commenting based on what has been presented so far and my considerably vast knowledge of the fashion world having worked in it my entire working career. I would also like to make clear that at the moment the only thing I can say about the participants is that I understand their wanting to be part of this show as they will get a huge leg up on any of their counterparts in the real world.
So, what is so unreal about this show? Everything!
Starting designers do not get John Varvatos as a mentor. They do not get pattern makers, sewers, make-up artists and stylists at their beckon call. They do not get the opportunity to show their collections to the type of buyers they are talking about here, let alone being able to show any buyer a single item as they are doing on Fashion Star. You would never see these stores participating in any way were it not for the incredible amount of publicity they will receive and have already received by being part of the show. Like all other "reality" shows the amount of publicity received by the participant and/or product would be utterly unaffordable and so good, bad or indifferent they are automatically elevated superficially.
So, what is real? The viewer's insatiable desire to be a voyeur, to be a spectator to a car crash, that is real. There will be real people in unreal situations with plenty of drama generated by drama queens and expert editors that will keep you glued to the TV. There will be enormous desire to want to suspend disbelief to the point of even criticizing me for showering you with the truth because reality is a harder pill to swallow. And because we have gotten to the point where as a society we know not about much of the topics to make our own educated determination as to what is or isn't reality.