about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Steve Cole reports:

This TV show is the latest clone of the hit Project Runway franchise. As is typical of Runway and the other clones (Fashion Show, Who Are You Wearing?), a group of wannabee clothing designers is brought to a studio. Every week (on the show, about two to three days in the real world) the contestants create a new dress or other outfit for fashionable ladies, and then the outfits are presented, after which the judges vote somebody off the show.

Launch my Line is somewhat different from the others. For one, the would-be designers are professionals in other fields who always wanted to start a second career in fashion. The group includes a journalist, an architect, a jewelry designer, a nightclub disk jockey, and others.

Another change is that each contestant is paired with a real designer who really has a line of clothing, and who actually knows how to sew. (Most of the contestants do not. I must ask: if selected for such a show as this, would you not give your team an advantage by learning how to sew? Why not buy a couple of patterns and some cloth and take a shot at home and learn how long it takes to turn a pattern into a dress? Why not try the same pattern with three different fabrics and learn how they work? Why not read a book so at least you know what "cut across the bias" means? Oh well.)

Another change is that each would-be designer selects ten bolts of cloth at the start of the show, and doesn't make a run to a fabric store as part of every challenge. There is also a "trim room" full of buttons and zippers and stuff, which also has some extra cloth (but you can only get two yards of cloth per challenge). [A "yard" of fabric is three feet long, but may be from five to fifteen feet wide, depending on the kind of cloth.]

Finally, at the end, the three finalists have to create three more dresses at one flurry of activity. To help them, they don't get eliminated competitors (who would be useless in trying to sew something) but the "experts" who were paired with eliminated contestants (and who actually know how to sew). More over (and this is the really cool part) they get to make changes in (or totally replace) the seven dresses they made for the first seven challenges, then present a coherent "line" of clothes. The emphasis is on the "line" and how it all works together. In theory, a woman would buy the ten outfits and have everything she needs for any occasion (or going to work). In practice, no woman shops that way, but you get the point. When the judges select who gets eliminated, they review all of the dresses (outfits, really, since some are pants or jumpsuits or swimsuits or whatever) to see who is the most likely to produce a line that would actually sell (since the winner of the show gets their line sold on some fashion website, and nobody wants to select a popular winner who cannot actually design clothes that could be made for a reasonable cost or sold to a reasonable woman). The show is interesting because of this feature, explaining what a "line" is.

Why do I watch these things? (I mean, after Leanna made me watch a few episodes and I got hooked?) Well, part of it is that I love business shows. Part of it is that I'm a designer (ok, game designer, I'd never try to design clothes) and I like the design process, from inspiration to construction to presentation. Part of it is that being a game designer, I like figuring out how the game works, what you have to do to win it. Partly, I watch them since Leanna loves these shows and we're always stopping the DVR and comparing notes on what we think the judges will like. The biggest part of it is that I like to try to learn how things I do not understand actually work. I know that women (most of them) dress well and look good, and like most men, I remain baffled how they make it work.