Thanks to the trailblazing efforts of programs like MTV’s “The Real World” and CBS’s “Survivor,” reality shows are an integral part of today’s television landscape. They’re as widely watched as standard network programming, and as much a part of the pop culture conversation, with channels like Bravo climbing up the ratings ladder and nabbing millions of viewers each week with successful reality franchises such as “The Real Housewives” and “Top Chef,” and their subsequent spinoffs.
As harmless and fun as reality TV can be, it also has its detractors—those who feel it brings fast (and, typically, fleeting) fame and fortune to the opportunistic and undeserving. Often, these detractors are miffed by the ease that reality stars are able to break into industries that typically require years of hard work and dedication. One particular example: The impenetrable fashion industry.
There’s no denying that during the past decade or so, fashion has become a major force on reality TV. Not the slew of fashion lines designed by Z-list reality stars—although we’re still waiting with bated breath for She by Shereè—but the representation of the industry as a whole. Case in point: Bravo’s new “Fashion Night,” which debuts tomorrow and features three programs back-to-back: “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “It’s a Brad, Brad World,” and “Dukes of Melrose,” which explores the world of high-end vintage.
Clearly, people are curious about the inner-workings of the industry, and they have been for awhile. From Lauren Conrad‘s Teen Vogue internship on “The Hills,” to Tyra Banks’ shrieking at aspiring catwalk queens on “America’s Next Top Model,” reality TV has helped blow the lid off of the exclusive world of fashion. But the big question is: How accurate and realistic are these portrayals?
In the slideshow above, we’ve provided a look at the fashion industry as seen through the eyes of reality TV, and also chimed in on whether or not the shows really had shades of reality—or were totally fake.
Click through and let us know your favorite fashion reality shows!