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Reality TV Interview

'Fashion Star' Nicholas Bowes Q&A: 'I'm very far from being sexist'

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Fashion Star: Nicholas Bowes

© NBC Universal

It must be hard being the first eliminee in any show, but Fashion Star's Nicholas Bowes also went out after making some controversial comments to mentors Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie... and being called an "Aussie chauvinist" by Elle Macpherson!

Read on to find out what Nicholas told reporters about those comments, his picks to win the competition and his plans for the future...

The mentors and designers suggested that your jackets weren't very distinctive and weren't as impressive as they could have been. What's your response to that?
"I've had a lot of success with that jacket over the last five or six years. Leather is a very distinctive piece. I think everyone needs a staple jacket in their wardrobe and the jacket I presented had a lot of detail and is very difficult to construct and make. So I do disagree with that comment."

Would you have done anything different in the show, from the beginning to the point that you left? Or would you have stayed exactly the same?
"I would have stayed exactly how I was. I do think my fashion sense was a little bit too forward for middle America. The styling I brought forward, it was a little bit too.... forward. It's very Japanese inspired, very European inspired. I guess you wouldn't see a lot of guys in middle America wearing drop crotch pants!"

Were you surprised by the mentors' comments?
"When I was standing up there I was a little bit shocked with the comments from the mentors. John... John's response, not because John was a guy I took John's comments the way I did, it was just more the fact that I do appreciate John's comments more because he's done his time in the industry, 10 or 15 years. And if you look at Alicia Keys, Pink, any of the top celebrities in the world, they've all done their time in the industry and they've all been through good times and hard times, so I was a little bit shocked by the comments from the girls, yes."



Do you feel like you got enough feedback from the mentors while you were in the design studio?
"The only mentor I spoke to, to be honest with you, when I was creating the jacket was John. The two girls didn't actually come up and speak to me at all, and I actually did all my styling for the runway show. I didn't get any feedback from the stylists on the show."

Do you regret saying that women can't judge men's fashion, or do you regret not being able to clarify what you meant?
"I think the biggest thing is being able to explain it. I actually did make a very strong point about that in the interviews afterwards, that I was actually referring to, 'You girls don't know what you're talking about' so I was actually referring solely to Jessica and Nicole about the men's fashion comment, and especially to the point where they don't know what's current in styling. So it just got misconstrued a little bit."

Do you think you were eliminated because of your clothes, or because of what you said to Jessica and Nicole?
"My personal opinion, I definitely think that I was thrown off the show because of the comments. It just didn't go down too well on the night, and it just made for a great first episode. I think it caused a lot of controversy and it ruffled a lot of women's feathers and a lot of Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie's feathers and their fans as well! I've had a lot of response, a lot of comments on my Twitter. It built the show up to have a lot of controversy and that's fine; I haven't got a problem with that at all."

The mentors and buyers also said you don't take criticism or feedback well - do you think that's true?
"I do take criticism well, I just didn't feel that they were in a position to give me the criticism they did. And not just because they're women - I just want to make that clear. It's got nothing to do with me being sexist or anything like that. I've got a lot of female friends that do men's fashion, a lot of buyers. I've got a beautiful wife and a beautiful daughter, so I'm very far from being sexist."



What's the advantage of the show? How does it help or hinder you as a designer?
"I think this is for designers that haven't been in the industry - as you know, there are a couple of stay at home moms and people fresh out of design school. I think what's positive about the show is that they get to have everything at their fingertips - you get your own pattern maker and own sample maker, you get your own cutting, you've got everything that you need in the real world right there.

"And having to converse with the mentors is fantastic, and also having the buyers there criticizing the work straight away, it's just not heard of. You just don't get that out there, so it's really positive to have that on the show. But I just feel like the biggest thing about being in the industry is actually knowing all the processes that go into it from start to finish, and designers coming straight out of school don't really learn that in school. It's just something you learn through time and experience."

Is there a fear as a designer that you might lose your style in an attempt to please the masses when you go on this show?
"That's the thing - design for mainstream middle America to get volume and sales, or do you stay true to yourself and design what you want to design? That's what I've found over the years and I've had great success doing that. Especially with the leather jacket, I've had the opportunity to dress a lot of celebrities. We've got a lot to back that up and I've done that by designing what I like and not what everybody else wants me to make."

Do you think the show wasn't right for you, then?
"No, no, not at all. It's funny - good press, bad press, it doesn't really matter. I've learnt that over the years, and there's a lot of people around the world - especially in America and the UK and Australia and Canada - all those people actually know Nicholas Bowes now. Not that it was in the most positive light, but I'm sure when a lot of people see what I create, I think they'll appreciate me a little bit more."

What's next for you?
"I'm down in my factory today. We do a lot of manufacturing for a lot of big companies, so I'm continuously working down here and growing a very successful business down here, and also working on my other label KRMA - we do great business with that online. And also I've just launched my new menswear line, Nicholas Bowes."

Who do you think has the potential to go far in the competition?
"I think there's a couple in there that I feel have the knowledge when it comes to building a brand for the long term. One of those would definitely be Lizzie Parker - I know she's been in the industry for a good six, seven years. And also Kara - I think she's pretty talented. That's about it!"

Fashion Star airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.

Watch a preview for the next episode of Fashion Star below:

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