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Austin clothing designer Ross Bennett takes his bow on ‘Fashion Star’

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Austin clothing designer Ross Bennett failed to stitch together a successful debut on Tuesday night’s premiere of NBC reality competition “Fashion Star.”

None of the three retail buyers on the show bid on Bennett’s collection of women’s pants. Furthermore, all three mentors – Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos – panned Bennett’s designs. Nonetheless, Bennett survived to advance to next week’s competition. At the end of each show, one designer is eliminated from the competition.

On the premiere, Bennett and 13 other contestants set out to design a clothing collection that would wow the mentors and the retail buyers during a high-energy fashion show. The buyers show their praise for a collection by buying it, with items appearing right away in stores and online.

The designers are vying for the chance to win a multimillion-dollar prize to launch their collections at three major U.S. retailers: H&M, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fashion Star” buyer Terron Schaefer, Saks Fifth Avenue’s executive vice president and chief creative officer, said Bennett’s collection “wasn’t unique, it wasn’t really special enough for Saks.”

Before his turn in front of the mentors and buyers, the 27-year-old Bennett looked confident and dapper; he was clad in a Brooks Brothers-style suit, complete with a bow tie and a pair of sunglasses perched atop his head.

“I’m here to win it. There’s no one who puts on a presentation like I do,” Bennett said before striding onstage.

However, at one point while he was standing before the buyers, Bennett’s face was glistening with sweat.

Ross and his wife, Erin, founded The Ross Bennett Collection in 2008. They sell cocktail, formal and wedding dresses, as well as everyday garments. Bennett studied tailoring and fashion design at the University of Texas, where he nurtured a passion for dressmaking and for “helping women look and feel beautiful.”

“Ross’ main goal is provide his clients with a classic, versatile sense of style that can be worn for decades,” according to the website for his clothing business. “Clothing should be recognized like a piece of art, with each piece having its own story to tell. Ross Bennett brings that individuality to you in each garment he creates.”

The website for “Fashion Star” calls Bennett “a mixture of a big-city kid and true country boy who likes to hunt, fish and design custom one-of-a-kind dresses and other tailored items for women.”

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