Two Seattle Designers to join the cast of Fashion Star

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Breaking news! Not one, but two Seattle designers made the cast of NBC’s new fashion-slanted-reality-competition-show, Fashion Star. Sounds like bragging rights to me!

Lizzie Parker and Lisa Hunter will represent Seattle in the weekly showdown. They both have a great following in Seattle and years of experience under their respective fashionable belts. In fact, if you look at the list of the 14 contestants, there are only a handful under 30. That’s refreshing considering Project Runway usually has one or two fresh-out-of-school, over-confident, stubborn-know-it-alls who want to rule the world. Of course, in the case of Christian Siriano, well, he did. But that’s another story.

In a small town like Seattle, you get to know the in-crowd. I am very familiar with both of these designer’s work and perspectives. Lizzie Parker has her own boutique in Kirkland that showcases her line of modern knitwear and layering pieces. She’s also serves as Executive Creative Director of FASHION FIRST Seattle, the highest profile annual Seattle fashion show.
Lisa Hunter established her line Vian Hunter in San Francisco in 2006 before relocating to Seattle three years later. In May of 2010, I attended her first in-house boutique spring fashion show at her space in Madison Park. At the time she had just entered Seattle Magazine‘s local fashion competition, Seamless in Seattle, and the rumor that night was that she was shortlisted forSeason 8 of Project Runway. Perseverence pays off.

Here’s the show’s summary from Entertainment Weekly.

Hosted by supermodel Elle Macpherson, Fashion Star features celebrity mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos. The series will premiere Tuesday, March 13, at 9:30 p.m. with a 90-minute episode. Following that, Star’s hour-long episodes will air at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Elle Macpherson has proven herself more than just a model, acting in various TV shows over the years. She’s funny, pretty and charming, which is all I want in a TV host. And she’s apparently designing lingerie, so I’ll give her a shot.

However, I’m going to have to call out the “celebrity mentors” for what they are: The B team. Jessica Simpson may have her name on a label at Macy’s, and whether or not she’s actually designing it, we’ve seen it all before. She could use a mentor herself. Nicole Richie is a celebutante who’s famous for being famous. Her House of Harlow accessories label and the Winter Kate clothing line all appear to be expensive versions of Free People designs. And even if John Varvatos has talent, he’s a menswear designer and I don’t pay attention to menswear. He does have a pretty slick 49 second video on his website featuring Green Day wearing his clothes, so he gets points for cool factor.

The premise of the show is pretty bold and I’m guessing more beneficial to all contestants, not just the one that wins. It’s like if Project RunwayShark Tank and Dancing with the Stars had a baby. The designers will be judged by actual buyers for Saks Fifth AvenueMacy’s and H&M, not by fashion magazine editors. The three buyers will place competing bids on designs that they like and, viewers will then be able to buy the clothes immediately following the episode.

This is a huge opportunity, but also a huge risk. You could win the first challenge, have your garment sold at a major department store and then get kicked off the show the following week! The Seattle PI published a preview of the show earlier this month, which you can read here.

As someone who can’t get enough of fashion and entertainment, I’m thrilled with yet another reality series to obsess over, and I’m hoping the first episode will change my mind about the mentors. But honestly, to see our socks-and-sandals wearing city represented in the big league of prime time fashion TV is LEGEN – wait for it – DARY.

Fashion Star premieres Tuesday, March 13th 9:30/8:30c NBC