8 Reality TV Shows Fashion Designers Can Watch for Inspiration

8 Reality TV Shows Fashion Designers Watch for Inspiration | MakersValley Blog
Yash Bansal

Yash Bansal

There are roughly more than 700 reality shows on the air right now, and fashion reality shows are a popular subcategory of that. Designers can obtain insights regarding fashion photoshoots, modern trends, demographic information, and more from these diverse series. Since there are a variety of television options, below are some of the series with the most pertinent information that designers can benefit from. Not every series listed is about fashion, but each can be beneficial to study the industry and aesthetics nonetheless.

Find Inspiration Through Fashion Based Reality Television

Reality television attempts to showcase ordinary people while regular series are scripted and well thought out beforehand, which is why reality tv can provide more useful insights about growing a business while also being entertaining. While books and podcasts can provide various insights on apparel trends, tv shows can also provide a visual component that can help designers see fashion in action. 

When it comes to fashion reality television, there exist a variety of entertainment options that we recommend watching, including:

Queer Eye

Available on NetflixQueer Eye on Netflix
Image from Netflix

Queer Eye is a series focused on a group known as the Fab Five who help people makeover their lives. Tan France is the cast member in this group who helps the subject of each episode find clothing that makes them feel their most confident. For designers, this series shows a glimpse into the fashion customer’s mindset. It captures stories from people with all kinds of backgrounds, so it can be insightful to those conducting their demographic market research.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

ABC, available to stream the next day on HuluBachelor from ABC

Image from ABC

Both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are immensely popular guilty pleasure reality television series. Although they do not directly highlight fashion, contestants showcase various outfits throughout the series. The main takeaways for designers from either of these series are potential design ideas and inspiration from the clothing worn by contestants.

America’s Next Top Model

Watch on VH1, Bravo, the CW, and UPN
Stream on Netflix and HuluAmerica's Next Top Model

Image from IMDB

America’s Next Top Model is one of the longest-running shows of its kind on television. That fact alone makes it one worth keeping an eye on. It is a competition-based series where contestants compete to become America’s next “it girl.” Designers can keep an eye on various designs presented in this series and what makes them unique. Additionally, this series can provide insights into what might be involved with planning a product photoshoot and how best to work with fashion talent. 

How Do I Look?

Esquire Network and Bravo NowHow Do I Look show

Image from TV.com

How Do I Look? Is another makeover-based reality show. It essentially takes one part of a show like Queer Eye and focuses entirely on helping the show’s guests improve their style. The takeaways for designers are similar to Queer Eye but watching an entire episode of the series might prove to be more insightful due to the series’ focus on fashion. A similar show is the TLC series called What Not to Wear.

Stylish with Jenna Lyons

Available on HBO MaxStylish with Jenna Lyons

Image from HBO Max

This is one of the newer series on this list. In this series, Jenna Lyons, a well-known fashion designer who at one point served as the creative director and president of J. Crew, takes on various design projects. Here, the general takeaways for fashion designers are business, design, and trend insights from an industry expert.

The Fashion Fund

Stream on YouTubeFashion fund-jpg-1

Image from IMDb

This is a series where actual designers compete for a $300,000 fashion business investment. Designers can benefit from watching this series to see what investors seek when evaluating designers for their teams. Overall, The Fashion Fund is one of the more business-minded series as opposed to the creative angle of the fashion design industry. Some series with a similar premise and takeaway include Next in Fashion (Netflix) and 24 Hour Catwalk (Lifetime). One of the newest series featuring competing designers is an Amazon Prime series called Making the Cut.

Project Runway

Stream on Hulu PremiumProject Runway from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Project Runway is another competition-based series for fashion designers. The main factor that differentiates it from The Fashion Fund and Next in Fashion is that it has been running for much longer. It started all the way back in 2004. Because of this, it has spawned various spinoff series that designers could also check out including Project Runway Junior and Project Runway All-Stars.

Shear Genius

BravoShear genius from Amazon

Image from Amazon

While this series does not directly relate to fashion apparel (it focuses on competing hairstylists), it can provide some insights for designers. How people style and wear their hair can be a big part of their overall look. While Shear Genius isn’t as immediately insightful as some of the other series listed, it can still provide some creative inspiration.

Reality television is something many viewers watch casually. This same trend generally applies to fashion reality shows. Despite this, the series mentioned above can provide insights and inspirations for designers and can potentially make a difference in your business or how you view fashion design. By keeping up to date with the current seasons of these series, designers can see the rise to stardom of ordinary people for inspiration, various social issues on display, and how the fashion industry intersects with both.


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