For the past few weeks, TLC (The Learning Channel) has been advertising a new reality show called “Ashley Paige: Bikini or Bust”. So of course being in the biz, I decided that it was important to watch the show last Friday. I am not fussy on reality shows basically because I believe most of what we see is staged and over dramatic, but like the dutiful little reviewer that I am, I marked my calendar and watched the show.
For those of you like who’ve never heard of Ashley Paige, she is a well-known Los Angeles swimwear designer with her label in all the right boutiques around the world. The only problem is she is not a businesswoman and desperately needs funds to show her line in the Los Angeles Mercedes-Benz Fashion week.
Although I found the show interesting to a point since it was not overly hyped up like other reality shows, I found Ashley Paige to be a curious dichotomy. On one hand her label is worn by A-list clients and can be found in hundreds of shops but on the other hand, she complains about not having manufacturing monies. It behooves me to understand how she got her suits into so many shops to begin with if she has no money. It appears to be one of those catch-22 situations where she needs money to produce swimwear on a grand scale while at the same time her designs are incredibly popular. I would think that her financial success would come in spite of her lack of business skills.
I would say, though, you have to give her and her devoted team credit for their perseverance. Her entourage consists of her mother, a male knitter, an administrative assistant and a few other employees who obviously believe in Ashley and her swimwear. After watching the show, I realized the title Bikini or Bust had nothing to do with the bustline of the garments or women who wear the suits, but rather “going bust”. She either had to produce her bikinis for the fashion show or go bust.
Other than showing the knitter for a short period, the show did not really talk much about the process of making the suits or even the suits themselves. One thing that was interesting was the use of real vintage materials that were sourced from clothes on the racks at a neighbourhood thrift shop. And although I found the show to be somewhat boring, I will continue to watch so I can hopefully gain more insight into the bathing suits themselves.
Photos in this post thanks to Beachwear.cc which has an excellent post about the Ashley Paige Swimwear 2008 collection!