When you think about the history and legacy of fashion TV shows—it has sort of fizzled out in recent years. There was the monumental CNN show, Style with Elsa Klensch, which ran from 1980 to 2001, offering interviews with fashion icons like Halston and Liza Minnelli. It was where America got to see models wearing the latest fashions on runways all over Europe.
In Canada, Jeanne Beker hosted FashionTelevision, which also brought Europe’s catwalks to the global TV screen, airing from 1985 to 2012. There also was FashionFile on CBC, which ran from 1989 to 2009, and The Clothes Show, a British fashion show that ran on BBC One from 1986 to 2000.
And who can forget Fashion Police? Hosted by comedian Joan Rivers, she dished on celebrity red carpet looks, both good and bad, from 2010 and 2017. But now, besides the competition shows we have today—from Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s Making the Cut to Project Runway—there’s few places where you can still watch fashion in all its glory and elegance, beyond the reality drama. It’s by women, for women, highlighting women’s voices.
Victoria Unikel is the brains behind a new venture that is making waves in the fashion world. She is a serial entrepreneur and media mogul, as the co-founder of VUGA Enterprises Media Group, which owns over 60 newspapers and magazines. She also runs two fashion-forward and luxury lifestyle TV networks; 24Fashion TV, which offers red carpet interviews and full-length runway shows, and Gossip Stone TV, which has an A-List celebrity interview show and one about the rich and famous. Both are on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire, and prove that you don’t have to have a VIP pass to New York Fashion Week to see the season’s latest styles.
These shows have the same indie spirit as the legendary fashion TV shows that first brought high fashion to the mainstream. Some of the women TV hosts include fashion icon Aliia Roza, who hosts Seduce Like A Spy, Debbie Wingham, who hosts The Most Expensive, while 24Fashion TV red carpet interviews are hosted by supermodel Elvira Jain. The Ari Global Show features interviews with Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Emma Stone, while backstage interviews have featured interviews with fashion luminaries such as owner of Elite World Group Julia Haart, and German supermodel Leonie Hanne.
Unikel speaks about the future of the fashion industry, red carpet looks and making space for independent fashion designers.
Forbes: 24Fashion TV gives a platform to fashion designers, who we wouldn’t normally see. Why is it so hard for designers to get into mainstream fashion publications like VOGUE?
Victoria Unikel: The bigger magazines play it safe and don’t include talented, lesser-known designers. It is impossible for a newcomer to compete or expect to be noticed without paying a lot of money to receive press mentions. I created and co-founded 24Fashion TV to create an opportunity for talented emerging designers to have access to a TV channel, something they wouldn’t have otherwise.
What are some overlooked fashion designers we need to pay attention to?
What does the fashion industry need right now? What’s the biggest problem?
The industry should focus less on brand names, and more on quality and style. It’s easy for a fashion brand to continue to pay outrageous fees to stay relevant in the marketplace, while the newcomer cannot afford to pay to play. Instead of delivering a message or showing something that moves the audience, shows today are filled with click-bait-like themes to trigger social media audiences.
Why did you co-found VUGA Enterprises?
Since I have been in entertainment most of my life, it felt right—and seemed so appropriate. I co-founded VUGA Enterprises to bring together filmmaking, advertising, and to create a PR powerhouse. Since I founded it in 2018, it has become all those things, on top of being a top TV entertainment channel, as well.
Today, VUGA media group has grown to over 70 digital newspapers and magazines with over six million unique visitors monthly. It’s truly amazing to see the growth we experienced in only two years. When I created Gossip Stone TV, a celebrity reality TV channel, all marketing needs were taken care of by VUGA, proving that our services worked for our projects, as well.
What is your most popular TV show on Gossip Stone TV?
We’ve already launched two shows on Gossip Stone TV – The Ari Global Show, featuring interviews with A-list celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Samuel Jackson, and many others.
We also have a show called The Most Expensive, a show hosted by “the Queen of the Most Expensive,” Debbie Wingham, a world-renowned artist who has created art commissions to the tune of $250 million over her fabulous career. There are two more shows in pre-production and others are in development.
Can you tell us about the Dubai episode of The Most Expensive that’s coming out soon?
Dubai is the home of the most expensive, so it’s the natural new home for this show on Gossip Stone TV! In the next episode, Debbie is creating a gigantic Birkin bag sculpture, fitting for Dubai, and preparing for a huge Christmas celebration.
What are you looking forward to the most with the Oscars and Met Gala red carpets?
After COVID, we are living through a resurgence of life and a new joy of living, and I think this will be represented in the fashions we see on the red carpets next year. I am really looking forward to seeing what the best-dressed will be wearing, especially as the Gala will be honoring fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld.
How did you first get involved in the fashion industry?
I was in love with fashion and style all my life. I started fashion modeling at 17 and shortly became a top model, appearing on magazine covers. I dreamed up new designs and brought them to life for my musical stage productions, as I am also a professional cellist.
This naturally led to me launching a fashion label under the name Unik-El. In Germany, I organized many large events to show my work. I was well received and had the support of the LGBT community and Aids Gala in Berlin in 2011. Being a model, I learned to be discerning with clothes, make up, and style. How you carry yourself is also very important. This is true in any situation, and it helped me in business later in life.
Check out @victoriaunikel on Instagram.