2009-05-22 / Columnists

The Style Insider

An Interview With A Fashion Guru
Commentary By Rachel Bernstein

Here is the dazzling MJ Diehl along with husband and partner, Roman Milisic. Here is the dazzling MJ Diehl along with husband and partner, Roman Milisic. On May 7, 2009 at 12 p.m., I interviewed an extraordinary woman by the name of Mary Jo Diehl. She is the daughter of George and Joan Diehl and has lived in Belle Harbor since the age of 3. She received her bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Wesleyan University and her story gets even more exciting from there. Mary Jo Diehl is the founder of House of Diehl and the creator of an amazing TV show called "Style Wars: The Style Battle Championships."

Before MJ Diehl created her company, she was involved in many jobs in TV production and was also the editor of several magazines. The House of Diehl is a one-of-a-kind fashion company that produces ready-to-wear and accessories. They also support young fashion and talent and believe that you should be your own model. Creativity is key in fashion.

The House of Diehl was created in 2001. MJ Diehl always had a passion for fashion because she could help talented people become stars. In the House of Diehl, you are the star. However, she did not create this successful company on her own. Along with partner and husband, Roman Milisic, they have single-handedly impacted the fashion industry through their creativity and positive enthusiasm. MJ Diehl and Roman Milisic used to have a magazine together and a show called Instant Couture. This show randomly picked people from the audience to create instant fashions. However, the show was scheduled to run on September 13, 2001; two days after 9/11. It was canceled, but new invitations went out a month later. Hundreds and hundreds of people turned out along with BBC and ABC News. It became a "great idea at the right time."

This motorcycle jacket from House of Diehl was recently pulled by Madonna to wear to her Hall of Fame induction. This motorcycle jacket from House of Diehl was recently pulled by Madonna to wear to her Hall of Fame induction. With a successful company under her wing, she decided to then create a

show of all fashion shows, "Style Wars: The Style Battle Championships." This show is a

whole new way to produce fashion." In less than six minutes, competitors must take two racks of mostly recycled items and create a design to be shown to a panel of celebrity judges and a live audience consisting of about 3,000 people. And, what-do-you-know, this show even caters to the down-spiraling economy. Competitors have the ability to reuse recycled materials and get their work out there to an audience and editorial coverage all in one show. The tickets are also affordable. To watch one of America's top TV shows live at the price of a pack of cigarettes, that's a bargain! So, what do the competitors win? Well, when the show was produced in South Africa, the winner received, among other great prizes, 50,000 rand (about 6,000 American dollars), and trips to the New York, Paris, and London fashion weeks. This fall marks the second American tour which will hit five cities nationwide. After that, they will have one great big battle to choose the best style battler. This show has become known as a "style concert." People say that "Style Wars" is inspired by "Project Runway." On the contrary, it's the opposite. "Style Wars" began way before "Project Runway." The producers of "Project Runway" were very interested in her idea and they were the ones to be inspired by MJ Diehl's show. This show definitely is an inspiration to do your own thing. MJ Diehl gave some advice to people who are interested in competing in their upcoming show in the fall.

This is one example of how House of Diehl's beauty and creativity is endless. This is one example of how House of Diehl's beauty and creativity is endless. 1) Go to the website. (www.houseofdiehl.com) 2) Send in your application online.

3) Keep it intimate.

4) EVERYONE FROM ROCKAWAY IS WELCOME! (She is very enthusiastic about the bright and brilliant coming out of Rockaway!)

5) Have a fabulous time!

House of Diehl also has a few new projects on the horizon. This summer they are hosting a week- long intensive fashion boot camp. They also have a couple of new TV shows in development. House of Diehl continues to be the successful fast-paced company that MJ Diehl has always dreamed it would be.

To create a successful company is a huge deal, but to create a successful company and have the time, patience and energy to create a TV show is even more amazing. This means pressure on top of stress all the time. So, how did MJ Diehl handle all the pressure? Easy. She loves TV. She has the personality for it. She knows what people want to see and involves and interests her audience. She stated, "[You need a] great team working for you. [When you are] working with a team, you rise to the top."

Now, on top of all of the exciting things that MJ Diehl gets to be a part of everyday, she was also a guest judge on "Make Me a Supermodel." How did that happen, you ask? Well, she did not reach out to them, the producers of the show actually contacted MJ Diehl after they heard about "Style Wars." When asked how it felt to be a part of one of America's most watched shows, she states humbly, "I didn't think it was such a big deal. Tyson was awesome. The crew was awesome. Rebecca Wineberg was so supportive."

Lastly, I asked lovely MJ Diehl for some advice for us struggling college students wishing to become entrepreneurs. She said, "Real experience. Be a part of the working world. Take internships. Participate, create a network, and work together." Great advice from a great fashion guru.

That's all for this week, but make sure to look out for my next column in which I will discuss all of the great new dog clothing and accessories for your pet.

Got tips? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? If so, please Email me! Fashion@rockawave.com.

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