Reality TV shows seem to take over more and more of air time on TV. We have shows like Idols, the X-factor & Got Talent, that try to find the new stars of the future. We have fashion oriented shows like Project Runway. MenStyleFashion is interested in how Reality TV has its influences on fashion and the fashion industry.

Short History of Reality TV

Reality TV started in 1991 with Dutch series Nummer 28, which was the first TV show that brought total strangers together and recorded their conversations. It really started to explode in the late 1990’s with the global franchises of Survivor, Idols and Big Brother. These shows where mainly competition based and created franchises in dozens of countries. Channels like MTV reprogrammed completely to stop showing music clips and almost focus completely on the reality TV format. Some shows were a flop and some were really strong like American Idols which topped from 2003 to 2011 every year as the number 1 format in terms of viewership (They’ve spawned some pretty good artists too). Reality TV shows come and go the current most successful TV franchise is The Voice.

Soap-opera Style

This subgenre is also of Reality TV programs is also known as docusoap, these programs deliberately try to mimic the appearance of soap operas. These programs focus on close-knit groups of people and their friendships and relationships. One big success in the US was Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and its spinoff the Hills. This shows also inspired the highly successful British series, Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex and the Australian series Freshwater Blue. Many of these shows have been accused of not being “totally real”, with using scripts.

At MenStyleFashion we have noticed that the Reality TV celebrities are getting more and more involved with the fashion world. We interviewed Mark-Francis Vandelli from Made in Chelsea at the London Fashion Week. We have also dedicated an article on The Only Way is Essex and its influence on fashion.

Made In Chelsea - Mark Francis Vandelli and Victoria Baker London Fashion Week

Mark Francis Vandelli and Victoria Baker London Fashion Week

Stylish Men's Fashion from Essex

Colin Scurlock who played a part role in The Only Way Is Essex


Another subgenre of Reality TV shows focus on the daily lives of celebrities. These are show like The Osbournes, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Hogans Knows Best. In other shows celebrities are put on location and are given specific tasks, these “celebreality” shows are often created with the idea of promoting a celebrity product or upcoming project. This is where I can see future shows about fashion being created, where the celebrity tries to get his or her fashion label of the ground. It could go even further where fashion houses get involved with reality TV.

Fashion and Reality TV Shows

The best reality TV that focussed on Fashion is Project Runway/Catwalk where a group of fashion designers compete against each other. The shows designers as well as the models are in to win the competition. The show is successful in the United States where it is running from 2004 till now.

What Not To Wear was a famous UK fashion oriented reality show whereby the host would give the participants fashion advice and £2000 to spend on a whole new wardrobe in exchange for destroying their old wardrobe. The host Triny and Susannah shot to fame with this show and bettered it with their next show Undress the Nation, a show that explores some of the major fashion problems in Britain. In the second show of Undress the Nation they targeted Men and came up with what they called “The Male Dress Code” based upon six basic body shapes: man boobs, beer bally, short legs, thick neck, broad shoulders and skinny.