OMG Fashun’s David Collins & Rob Eric

OMG Fashun is a brand-new, out-of-the-box collaboration between actor and media personality Julia Fox and Scout Productions, the studio behind such hits as Queer EyeThe Hype, Legendary, Living for the Dead and The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. Each episode in the competition series sees Fox, celebrity stylist Law Roach and a rotating guest judge challenge a group of fashion “disruptors” to create couture out of upcycled and unconventional materials. Scout Productions’ David Collins, co-founder and executive producer, and Rob Eric, chief creative officer and executive producer, discuss all things OMG Fashun with TV Real, along with the power of bold ideas and how the company is navigating the current industry landscape.

TV REAL: Talk to me about OMG Fashun. How did it come about?
ERIC: We got a call from our agent who said, Would you like to jump on a call with Julia Fox? It was supposed to be a ten-minute call; it ended up being about an hour of Julia walking down the streets of New York with a phone under her nose. We started talking about fashion. We’re big fashion people here, obviously—20 years of Queer Eye—if we’re not, we’re in trouble. We love to create unique shows with unique talent. We started throwing things back and forth, and she was like, I’m really into this. We put creative meetings on the books and created the insane show that you see in front of you today.
COLLINS: It’s her real-life experience with fashion.
ERIC: When we were pitching, everything she wore [to the meetings] made it into all the trades those days. We were like, this is the show. This is literally the show.

TV REAL: I’d love to talk about Julia Fox and what was behind her involvement. She’s such an icon. What’s the appeal of star power when you bring a show to market, for OMG Fashun and titles you’ve produced in the past?
COLLINS: The story we could tell with Julia is new. She’s fresh. We saw an opportunity to build a really unique format around her.
ERIC: We work with a lot of celebrity talent. Because we are outside the box and we do things that are cinematic and tell interesting stories, celebrities tend to come to us with these ideas. This was a slightly different situation. We were put together on a date, and thankfully we loved each other and got married. A lot of times celebrities will come to us with an idea or a seed of an idea because they know we’ll turn it into something that is bigger than what they had imagined. They know we’re never going to do a show that doesn’t feel like them. We don’t just attach somebody’s name to a project. We want to work with people who want to work. We’re finishing a show with Charlie Puth that is so out of the box and crazy. Julia was involved in every aspect of the show. It was one of the most fun sets we’ve ever had because it was so hyper-creative. That’s what makes us thrive.
COLLINS: You see from the show that Julia is in it from beginning to end. She is the guiding muse and force.

TV REAL: What role did the broadcaster E! play during development?
ERIC: I will tell you my favorite line from the network. We tend to do shows that are very outside the box, like LegendaryThe Hype and Queer Eye. Sometimes we have to censor ourselves. We sent something to them that was crazier than what we put on paper because we wanted to feel it out. They hit back with, Could you make this crazier? We’ll let you know if it goes too far. They were so incredibly involved. It was so important. Shows look like this when the network trusts the producer and says, We know and support what you’re trying to do.
COLLINS: It’s the best feeling in the world. We are really blessed and fortunate to have a 20-year-plus relationship with Frances Berwick [chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment] and the entire NBCUniversal team because they were the original owners of Queer Eye. It’s an amazing moment to come back and be full circle with them again.

TV REAL: Sustainability and upcycling are a huge part of OMG Fashun. What’s behind that choice?
COLLINS: That’s all Julia. From day one, she was really telling us her truth about fashion. [One day when] we went on our pitches, she wore an entire outfit made of expired condoms. The story behind that, though, is where the real truth of her lies. There are warehouses and warehouses filled with expired condoms. These aren’t used condoms; these are boxes of expired condoms that have gone past a date where they’re going to be effective, and they sit in warehouses. So, for her and these artists, they’re like, What are we going to do with all that? It’s going to end up in a landfill if we don’t figure out how to upcycle, recycle and turn this into fashion. And that’s exactly what this show is about.
ERIC: We also did The Hype for HBO Max, which is a streetwear competition show. We talk about sustainability on there. It was already something that was really important to us as well. We’re not saying, “Don’t buy fashion.” It’s what you do with it. You don’t just throw things out, you can recycle them. We have an entire episode where they create stuff with tampon applicators. You think, Oh, how can that be couture? But it becomes couture.
COLLINS: There’s beautiful art that comes out of this.

TV REAL: How does OMG Fashun fit in with the entire Scout Productions remit?
COLLINS: Our filter is really simple: transformation through information told with comedy that has heart. Transformation, by the way, is not about always a new dress or a new couch or all of that. It’s the work inside. I see you; you see me. It’s the sharing of our stories. When we do that, we get to see each other’s humanity. That’s where change happens and where real transformation is possible. For us, OMG Fashun lives within the Queer Eye universe of Scout Productions and what comes out of our batshit crazy minds.

TV REAL: In terms of the industry landscape right now, how is Scout dealing with that? How did this show work around the circumstances?
ERIC: We truck ahead with what we do best, which is make great television and make interesting formats. The business will always ebb and flow. We just surf that storm. When you are in this type of moment in the industry, you need to make shows that stand out and make waves. Our upcoming slate of what we’re going out with is big, loud and different. It’s meant to break through a market that’s having problems.

People want to watch television, and we need to be there to provide that content so we don’t lose it to platforms like TikTok and Facebook. We want to help make sure that streamers can live up to that never-ending flow of content.
COLLINS: This business is always going to ebb and flow. Change is good. It’s scary, but it’s good. We keep our noses down, stay creative and keep coming up with good ideas. That cream will always rise to the top. Folks want good programming. They want to feel challenged. They want to get excited.

This format, for example, is Project Runway meets Chopped. It’s a half-hour, which is so fast and exciting. We haven’t done a half-hour in a long time. It’s fun to push the barriers of that right now.
ERIC: You have to think of the industry like fashion. One moment, bell-bottom jeans are in, and everybody goes out and buys bell-bottom jeans. Then, suddenly, it’s skinny jeans. Either you’re going to keep wearing the bell-bottoms or you’re going to adapt to put on the skinny, and then it’s going to go to something else. You have to know it’s always going to change. It doesn’t stop changing.