"Project Accessory" seeks fashion's next big name

Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:23pm EDT
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By Jan Paschal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lights, camera, accessorize!

"Project Accessory," the latest spinoff of the long-running hit reality show "Project Runway," pits 12 unknown designers against each other for a shot at becoming the next big name in fashion.

It debuts on Thursday on the Lifetime television network.

"This is the biggest money maker in fashion," executive producer Rich Bye told Reuters of the accessories business.

"When they came to me with this idea," he added, "my first thought was: 'Why hasn't anyone done this before?' It seemed like a 'no brainer.'"

Bags, belts, jewelry and shoes are among the mainstays of the accessories business, which rakes in an estimated $30 billion a year in the United States alone, according to the Accessories Council. The New York-based nonprofit group represents designers, retailers, publications and suppliers in the accessories, eyewear and footwear industries.

"Project Accessory" gives TV audiences a close-up glimpse of what goes into making those items that "can make or break a look," said Ariel Foxman, editor-in-chief of InStyle magazine and a judge on the show.

The winner of "Project Accessory" will get an InStyle feature spread and $100,000 from eBay Fashion for startup.   Continued...