starring Elle® magazine's Joe Zee

Episode Recap – Julia Alarcon – Too Pricey for Nordstrom

I said it to Dana-Maxx, I said it to Leila Shams, and I said it to Julia Alarcon. There will always be something special about a woman designer designing for other women. There’s that innate, intangible quality of understanding what exactly another woman wants. With Julia, I felt she had a double advantage. She also – after starting Act 2 as a designer in her 40′s – had the advantage of her maturity.

Julia wasn’t a kid figuring out her life. Sure, she shared a lot of the same woes (freshly graduated, struggling to keep her business afloat, building accounts) but she was never wishy-washy in her approach. Her life was mapped out; she knew exactly what she should be doing and designing was it. This was a quality I would come to admire greatly in her but be equally frustrated by at the same time. She was so aware of what she wanted her collection to be, what it should cost (most of the time, too much), and who should wear it. Even during the times we disagreed, Julia, always courteous and polite, stood by her designs and her convictions.

Which may not have had quite outcome I had hoped for.

Julia’s episode is very befitting for the final transformation of season one of ALL ON THE LINE because in many ways, she’s emblematic of the universal problems of many struggling designers, especially the ones I worked with this season. Learning to reconcile art with commerce while maintaining your signature and voice, all at a price can be tough, regardless of experience or tenure. And I know Julia did her best. I just wished she did it a little bit more.

Do I wish she could have met the right price point for Nordstrom? Absolutely, but I loved where we ended up with the collection. When that first beautifully tailored dress stepped out in the presentation I couldn’t have been more proud. Like I was with most of the designers this season. And sometimes that proud accomplishment can be the most satisfying emotion of all.

Tune in for more designer transformations on Sundance Channel’s all new original series ALL ON THE LINE. Tuesdays at 10p.