‘Project Runway: Fashion Startup’ to debut on Lifetime

The public’s appetite for fashion is seemingly endless, so it’s not surprising that after several iterations exploring up-and-coming clothing and accessories designers as well as early dalliances with see-now-buy-now, the “Project Runway” franchise is spawning “Project Runway: Fashion Startup,” a mashup of the original “Project Runway” and shows like “The Apprentice” and “Shark Tank.”

The eight-episode reality series will premiere on Lifetime Oct. 20 at 10:30 p.m., showcasing aspiring fashion and beauty entrepreneurs as they pitch their concepts for the chance to secure funds from a panel of investors to help grow their budding ventures.

While there’s no Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Zac Posen or Nina Garcia (not even Molly Sims), the panel includes Rebecca Minkoff; Katia Beauchamp, cofounder and chief executive officer of beauty retailer Birchbox; Christine Hunsicker, tech marketplace maven and founder and ceo of plus-size clothing rental site Gwynnie Bee; and Gary Wassner, ceo of Hilldun Corp. and chairman of Interluxe Holdings LLC.

With their own time and money on the line, the experts will give each entrepreneur tough love and sage advice as they listen to the pitches. Also making special appearances will be Tommy Hilfiger; Maria Hatzistefanis, founder and president of the Rodial Group; Jenny Fleiss, cofounder of SoulCycle; and Julie Rice, cofounder and head of logistics at Rent the Runway.

The show is produced by The Weinstein Co. and Matador. Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Patrick Reardon and Barbara Schneeweiss are executive producers for Weinstein, while Jay Peterson, Todd Lubin and James Bruce are executive producers for Matador, and Mary Donahue and David Hillman are producers on the Lifetime side.