Designer Nicholas Bowes was the first contestant to be eliminated from NBC's new fashion competition show, "Fashion Star," on Tuesday night. While the designer's slick leather jackets were certainly good-looking, some of the judges took issue with their lack of originality, and also critiqued Bowes' styling choices -- pairing a leather jacket with jean cut-offs, for example.
In what was perhaps the most memorable moment of the whole episode, Bowes got into a bit of a heated exchange with celebrity mentor Jessica Simpson after he commented that she might not have her finger on the pulse of men's fashion. In attempting to defend himself, he added: "It's very hard to understand the girls giving advice about men's fashion."
Needless to say, his remarks didn't go over well with the mentors and the judges -- who are majority female -- and his comments may well have led to his elimination from the contest overall.
We checked in with Bowes to see how he's been doing since the episode was filmed, and how he feels about his comments with the benefit of hindsight.
Before "Fashion Star," what was your design experience?
My design experience started in 1999. I owned a screen-printing business in Australia and during that time did an apprenticeship with a company called GLOBE. I then created KRMA Clothing from 2003-2008, before bringing KRMA over to the United States in 2009-2012.
What was the process of designing for the first competition like? How did you have to put your competition collection together?
It was challenging. We all had one week to source fabric, create patterns, cut and sew and work out all the styling for the show.
Did you bond with any of the other competitors on the show?
Yes, Lizzie Parker. I'm now doing all her manufacturing in Los Angeles.
The judges took issue with your styling choices on the runway. Would you have done anything differently if you had a second shot?
No, not at all. I'm very up to date with men's styling all over the world. I travel to Japan twice a year, so I'm on point, especially with men's trends. Maybe it was a little forward for Middle America, or maybe everyone got caught up with my comments to Jessica.
You got into a bit of a heated exchange with Jessica Simpson. Do you still stand buy your take on the judging situation on the show?
Yes, I definitely do. I take my hat off to the girls for creating a successful business in their own right -- especially Jessica. But that doesn't mean she knows what's current in men's fashion and styling. I respect John not because he is a man, but because he has done his time in an industry that he loves. He, like a lot of other A-list celebrities (Alicia Keys, Pink, etc) have all struggled and experienced how difficult it is to build a brand from the ground up.
What have you been up to since the show taped? What are some of your favorite menswear lines right now?
I have owned KRMA Clothing for the past eight years, and just launched my new men's site -- nicholasbowes.com. I also own a manufacturing company in downtown L.A. called Rich Honey. I really like Rick Owens.