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Do You Like Good Design And Fashion? You Need to be Watching The Sundance Channel. [A Tall Glass Of Shame]

I was flipping channels a few months back and suddenly realized we had The Sundance Channel. After tuning in to this odd mix of television fare, I must say it is now one of my favorite channels to check out for new programming. This summer found me hooked on their show Ludo Bites America, where chef Ludo Lefebvre and his wife move from city to city around the US, opening a pop-up restaurant for one night only. The show pays homage to the local flare and flavors of the region, with Ludo’s personal French twist thrown in. Commercials around then led me to a whole slew of other shows and many have just recently begun to air their new season including the show Quirky.

Anyone can be the next great inventor, do you believe that? A fun and forward thinking company has popped up in the area of invention called Quirky and they are re-engineering the business of innovation. CEO Ben Kaufman may sound a little raspy and loud on the show but I love his enthusiasm for good design and his inventors. He respects the people who bring the ideas to their company in the first place, and from what I gather that makes this company fairly unique in their approach to bringing a product to life.

Here’s the way the show works; it is a profile of 1 or 2 projects that Quirky has chosen to run through their design pipeline, we get to see the process from basic idea to a fully realized product ready to hit store shelves. All the ideas the company uses are brought to them by the general public who submit their ideas to Quirky for a small ten dollar fee, and if the idea is picked up the inventor is brought into the process and shares the wealth when the product is finally sold. For ten dollars your idea may earn you a nice chunk of change. Worst case scenario, you get tons of feedback from the people of Quirky along with their collaborators and participants regarding what about your idea simply doesn’t work. That is invaluable information and statistics to get for such a low price. Quirky has made hundreds of fashionable and modern inventions that are twists on everyday problems we face with both smart and stylish solutions.

The show is fun to watch for me since I love the concept stage of the design process when anything is possible. The smart group of artists Ben has on staff are very good at honing in on what can make their product unique and possibly more effective in the modern marketplace. It is great to see these people who come from all walks of life take a stab at an idea, get into the process with Quirky, and end up with a nice chunk of change once their product is sold. In many ways Quirky is a dream maker and inspires me to look around in me and think, “Is there any struggle in my daily life that I could change with a simple invention? Maybe I could be the next Quirky inventor!” Watch the show and see what it takes to make even the simplest of devices we take for granted in our everyday lives and you will have a whole new appreciation for even the smallest crappy trinket gracing the shelves at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Here is a clip from Quirky explaining how they deal with Intellectual Property Rights and a bit about the common man’s place within their system:

Quirky airs Mondays at 10pm.

For those of you who prefer the fashion world to product design, there is the show Unleashed By Garo. Fashion designer, Garo Sparo, and his staff of misfits create one-of-a-kind fashions for clients that seek to express themselves from the inside out. He walks a fine line with his creations and deems the process “Design Therapy” which often seems appropriate with the work at hand and some of the fragile egos that walk through his doors. With his skillful eye for design and his soft way of helping his clients to push their boundaries, he gets them to open up more then they ever imagined. He has created some monstrously fun looks that any creative individual would love to wear, and if he were designing something for me I just know I would be in good hands. There is just an air of calm about him.

Garo has surrounded himself with some amazing help along the way as well. He managed to find a fun group of talented interesting people: Sequinette, whom he lovingly refers to as his “studio muse,” Noah Klein his funky mustachioed studio manager, and Gerrold Vincent who can only be described as a steampunk jack of all trades. His team can take a simple chicken scratch sketch of his and work magic in a matter of days. Garo also institues a good policy of blindfolding his clients during fittings until a final reveal when the garment is done. If you have never created something for someone else on commission, you don’t know the hell of someone not seeing where you are going with it and freaking out on you when it is only half finished. Trust me, you would lose your cool.

I love his work for the most part, but I do agree it isn’t for everyone. Not every client is going to come in demanding fairy wings and a corset. Regardless, I love the passion they all have for the garments they are making and the happiness it brings to his clients for their myriad of personal reasons. All that matters at the end of the day is they feel like a million bucks and that they are the only one in the world with a garment like that… THAT is special.

Here is a taste of Garo:

Unleashed by Garo can be seen Fridays at 9pm.

If you want a more practical minded business approach to design, you should be watching reruns of the first season of All On The Line. Joe Zee, Creative Director of ELLE magazine, is the driving force behind this fashion rescue show. The premise is simple throwing us into a not so glamorous behind the scenes world of struggling fashion lines and a potential turnaround with Joe Zee’s input and assistance. It shows you a lot of the process, including how designers manipulate and tailor their collections to hopefully sell their looks at different high end retailers around the country. It can be quite a bit of tough love for some of these designers to swallow, but Joe may be their last chance and his advice is right on the money.

Here is a clip:

The show will begin airing new episodes in November!

For those in love with the world of design and fashion, your extra credit this week is to head on over to Bravo and get a load of their new show Mad Fashion. I know, I know, it isn’t a Sundance Channel show, but I loved designer Chris March on Project Runway a few seasons ago and now he has his own half hour show on Bravo about his small design company that creates hilarious and fun outlandish looks for their clientele. Chris has drawn on his history as a larger than life female impersonator and is designing not only what he loves, but what he is best at: over the top avante-garde styles!

Check it out Tuesdays at Ten on Bravo!

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