This past week on NBC’s Fashion Star, designer Barbara Bates was eliminated from competition after stepping outside of her comfort zone to design bohemian.
Although Barbara Bates received praise this week from the Fashion Star buyers for her dynamo spirit, Barbara found herself challenged by Boho designs. Despite how Barbara completed her Boho designs with the right fabric, both the Fashion Star mentors and buyers didn’t feel her designs were commercial enough for the high-end department store market. As a result, Barbara became the latest designer to leave Fashion Star.
Following her elimination from the popular NBC fashion series, The Deadbolt spent some time with Barbara Bates to learn more about designing beyond her comfort zone, her take on the feedback she received, and whether bohemian was too far outside Barbara’s design wheelhouse.
THE DEADBOLT: How hard was it to design for young people and also deal with the mainstream and high end aspects the buyers were looking for?
BARBARA BATES: It was difficult for me because I actually I didn’t know that I was designing for young people. I didn’t know that until I was looking around and seeing things that were being bought. I just thought, “Wow, it’s those things that they’re buying. I’m in trouble.” Because the things they bought, I didn’t have any understanding of them.
I was just like, “That’s not what my interpretation of fashion is.” Then when I finally caught on that this is a young people’s thing, by that time it was too late. I’d already got my foot in the door and it was hard to dumb down or water down what I know.
THE DEADBOLT: How will you use the buyers’ feedback for your own brand?
BATES: Well, I’m not a mainstream designer, so unfortunately their feedback doesn’t work for me. I do high end. I do lots of bells and whistles. I’ve been doing it for 25 years and it works, so I won’t change anything.
If I decide to branch off and do moderate clothing or low end clothing, then that would be something, or manufacturing on a large scale, there would probably be something I’d pay attention to. But that’s not my interest today.
THE DEADBOLT: Looking back, do you think bohemian was too out of the box for you?
BATES: No, I don’t think it was too out of the box. At the end of the day, you’ve got three people and you have millions of viewers. So I have to say, that to go either way. I’m a business person so I definitely have to say three people or millions of viewers, I’d have to go with the viewers. I’ve got responses on the dress. I don’t plan on making it, but I have gotten responses.