He’s been in the garment industry for 12 years and has spent the last five designing men’s clothing. But it wasn’t until becoming a Fashion Star Season 2 contestant that David Appel felt he had come into his own. “I’m a sports guy. I love snowboarding, I love girls—maybe a little too much. I never thought I would be a designer, and never really thought I was before this experience,” says Appel, the only contestant on the show’s current season whose clothes are available in Vegas. “Fashion Star sort of brought out the monster in me. It made me a designer. Now I can’t stop.”
What to expect in the second season of Fashion Star? Louise Roe hosts alongside “celebrity mentors” John Varvatos, Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie, as Appel and twelve other designers from around the country contend for the prize of a multi-million dollar line at Macy’s, Express and Saks Fifth Avenue. “John Varvatos is inspirational,” Appel says. “Being able to hang out with him, talk to him and ask him questions is just inspiring.” Based in Los Angeles, 34-year-old Appel—a self-described guy’s guy—is sole designer of the men’s casual-wear line Cohesive & Co. “I make clothes for that everyday man, the weekend warrior,” he says, “for the accountant on the weekend.” Available at major outlets such as Neiman Marcus, as well as at smaller boutiques like Downtown’s Coterie, the Cohesive brand melds crewneck sweatshirts, camouflage and bandanna graphics, color-blocked tees, elbow pads and even Fair Isle touches for a classic, rugged collection—each garment bearing trademark polka-dot trim on the inside seam.
“Fashion is for everybody,” Appel says. “Don’t ever say, ‘It doesn’t matter what I wear today.’ Just like personality, looks and confidence, it does matter.”
Catch Fashion Star Season 2 Fridays at 8 p.m. on NBC.