- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - They say what comes around goes around in fashion _ and that goes for the mistakes, too.

Joe Zee, creative director at Elle magazine, is setting out to right those wrongs, though, in a new Sundance Channel reality show called “All On the Line.”

On the show, he’ll work with designers struggling to make a viable business out of their creative visions. They all have talent, says Zee, but not always business acumen.

“Every designer fancies themselves an artist, but that’s not a business. Marc Jacobs has made a brilliant career marrying art and commerce,” says Zee.

What Jacobs understands is that while it’s important to have a unique point of view, it’s equally important that the view is viable and fuels retail consumer demand, Zee explains. It’s why Michael Kors, Donna Karan and even Rodarte are known beyond the microcosm of the fashion world, while “All On the Line” participants Radenroro, Gemma Kahng and Dana Maxx are not _ at least not yet, he says.

His caveat, though: “That’s not license to make a basic black dress or a slip dress every season.”

Zee’s other words of wisdom for aspiring fashion designers out there:

_Understand that most customers are not models, nor are they model-size. “You have to see that your clothes need life beyond a 16-year-old who is 5-foot-10 and a hundred pounds. You need to be able to envision women of different ages and body types wearing your clothes.”

_On that note, be age-appropriate for your potential clients, too. Know your audience _ and don’t design hot pants for anyone not a teenager.

_Designers need to put themselves out there as the face and personality of their brands. Twitter and Facebook aren’t for announcing the next online sale, they are for developing a voice. Shoppers want humanity, Zee advises, not just a good price.

_Sheer styles are not the fastest route to success. Yes, even top designers insist upon putting them on the runway every spring season, he says, but how many people do you see wearing them?

“There’s no translation to real life.”

“All On the Line” debuts Tuesday.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide