Behind The Scenes at NBC’s Fashion Star
James Deutch and E.J. Johnston, the creators of NBC’s newest show dish on what it’s like to work with Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, John Vavartos, what’s it like to create a TV show and more.
We’ve watched, loved and hated some of the fashion design shows that we’ve seen on TV. Now comes the newest fashion design show, NBC’s Fashion Star. In this show, the designers or contestants have 24 hours to create an entire line. But don’t worry, they’re not alone in the task. The show’s full of fashion experts: the executive producer is super model Elle MacPherson, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and menswear designer John Varvatos mentor the 14 contestants every week. The show was created by fashion industry veterans James Deutch and E.J. Johnston.
The duo wanted to showcase all of the incredible design talent that lives in America’s various neighborhoods. The designers on the show all have a fierce local following, but aren’t known nationwide. In one night, the show’s debut all that will change. They’ll become household names because of James and E.J’s hard work.
The two took some time out of their very hectic schedule to have an e-chat with us about the show, how it works and advice to future TV show producers and designers.
BettyConfidential: How did you come up with the idea of Fashion Star?
James Deutch and E.J. Johnston: It was born from our belief that fashion is an incredible business, with amazing talents, processes and fans that would make for truly entertaining television. We also felt strongly that we could serve three very important constituents within Fashion Star:
1. Designers who have incredible talent, but lacked the platform to showcase it.
2. The retailers and buyers who are always looking for new talent, but may not have the time to find all of the places around the country where great fashion is waiting to be discovered.
3. Customers who would (a) love to learn how an article of clothing goes from an idea to a retail floor (b) how buyers decide what to bring to market and (c) love to get access to great fashion.
BC: I understand that the both of you have a background in fashion. Were you ever under the gun like the way your designers are to create something super fast?
JD and EJ: Many times! I think everyone can relate to having a big task before them with what they believe is too little time to do it in.
BC: You’re working with a seasoned designer – John Varvatos – and two very smart entrepreneurial women – Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson. They all have different markets and design concepts, how easy or hard was it for them to work together?
JD and EJ: We saw them gel as a team almost immediately. They all share the same qualities of empathy and success and they all immediately understood that they can help each and every one of the Fashion Star designers achieve. For them this is what their life’s passion is. They recognized that their ability to impart wisdom, share ideas and coaching was not only vital to the process, but truly welcomed by all the designers on the show.
BC: Who’s more fun to work with, Nicole, John or Jessica?
JD and EJ: They were all a treat for different reasons and we were surprised at how fun and funny they all were. For instance, did you know that John was such a big hockey fan? We didn’t! A lot of that comes through in the show.
BC: How do their public personas compare to how they are in real life?
JD and EJ: I think very few people in life are substantially different from how they are in work and how they are at play. You may see more of someone at play, but for the most part what you see is what you get.
BC: Any funny stories from the set?
JD and EJ: Lots of great moments with the designers and buyers. Whether it was seeing someone break through or add some levity to a tense moment, somebody getting surprised, seeing that moment when someone’s life has changed forever. Some of it brings a smile to your face, makes your jaw drop or even get a little choked up.
More about the show, a video preview and more up next!