A DIFFERENT FASHION: Lifetime and Bravo have their fashion reality franchises, but ABC Family is going the fictional route with “Jane by Design.” The show premiered Tuesday night and, at least in the first episode, was more about high school angst and family troubles (it is ABC Family, after all) than the cut-and-thrust of the fashion world.
To summarize: Jane (Erica Dasher) is a pretty, fashion-loving high school misfit just trying to get through the day with the help of her cute, faux-hawked friend Billy. With Jane’s dad dead and her mom out of the picture, it’s up to her older brother to keep them afloat, which is tough since he’s unemployed. Luckily Jane lands a job as assistant to an icy, insecure fashion designer (Andie MacDowell), who appears only via Skype in the show’s premiere. Cliché fashion bitchery and a gratuitous closet-raiding scene ensue.
The show looks to be a hybrid of “Pretty in Pink,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Gossip Girl” and just about every other teen drama that’s aired in the history of network television. If it gets zero points for originality, there was at least one speck of accuracy in the show’s make-believe fashion world: Jane’s starting salary as a fashion assistant is $32,000 a year.