Amy Bond is looking to reinvent fashion-themed reality TV.
The producer, known for her work on “Project Runway” and “Next in Fashion,” introduces “The Collective Fashion Show” — a series livestreaming and premiering online in July. Model and recording artist Shaun Ross has been tapped as executive producer and will oversee music, while Bond, stylist Ty Hunter and model Laura Kirkpatrick-Cianciolo will host.
“The idea for ‘The Collective’ came about because we’re living in a very inclusive world and a very virtual world, but we’ve also just gone through this year of intense hardship for everybody and intense isolation for everybody,” said Bond, the show’s creator alongside husband Angelo La Pietra (cofounder of Penguin Monkey Productions). “So as much as we have platforms that allow everybody to interact all the time, it’s been very disjointed in a lot of ways.”
She’s uniting 15 diverse contestants from past shows — “Project Runway,” “Next in Fashion” and “Making the Cut” — like Tessa Clark, Kentaro Kameyama, Charles Lu, Kenya Freeman and Adolfo Sanchez in a U.S. city she’s looking to spotlight: Cincinnati.
“It’s a vibrant place that’s been missed on the radar, not just through COVID-19, but overall,” said Bond. “They’re in a creative genesis right now of arts and culture and fashion and design and style.”
“This entire project is giving a place like Cincinnati something that it’s never really seen before, so automatically that’s uplifting within itself,” chimed in Ross, who hopes to better reflect the spirit of fashion in the music. “When I look at fashion segments on TV, it’s always the most commercialized music playing in the background, and I’m like, ‘Fashion is not that.’ It’s about being different. It’s about being specific. It’s about creating an experience.”
For $10, viewers globally will be able to watch segments of the livestream on Vimeo and Eventbrite. Bond noted that the contestants will receive a percentage of the livestream revenue, along with a paycheck for appearing on the show.
“That kind of never happens,” she said. “You know, I’ve seen kids go into debt to be a part of ‘Project Runway’ because they have to give up their apartment for months and their jobs and everything else. So, it was important to us that our designers felt valued, not just as a platform for them to talk about themselves, but also, it’s like ‘Hey, you’re the talent here, so you should share in the rewards of the whole thing.’”
The show aims to let the contestants — who each have a social media following — control their own narratives through the livestreams, which will also reach a broader audience given the limitations of traditional TV.
“We want a million people to be at the fashion show,” added Bond. “We don’t want the doors shut at the red carpet, where you can’t get in to see anything. The cameras will be there all the time.…And instead of it being a cutthroat competition kind of show, it’s all about collaboration. It is all about the celebration of that creativity.”
Still, there are competitive elements and a cash prize of $5,000 in the end. And following the final fashion show, there will be a live shopping event, with online viewers able to purchase items in real time.
“It’s a very modern way to look at fashion shows and shopping and technology,” said Bond.
The team plans to use the entire footage to create a pilot episode and relocate to other U.S. cities moving forward.