Why The Bachelor Australia’s TV wardrobe is better than a fashion magazine

Every season 24 women, varying from sizes 6 to 12, wear more than 350 dresses on what is becoming one of our most popular TV programs. An experience that is not only a heterosexual blood sport, but also a relatable fashion parade.

This season, Richie Strahan is supposed to be the centre of attention. However the textured two-piece Amy Taylor ensembles worn by Olena and Alex last week had more stage presence than the conventionally handsome rope technician. It’s a view held by many viewers (and internet recappers) who are now clamouring for pieces seen on the screen every week.

“Fashion has become a focal point of the show. More and more brands are recognising that and want to be involved. Each year it’s gone up a notch in terms of the brands that we use, designers that want to work with us and designers making bespoke things for us,” Ten’s senior stylist Anne Stringer said.

Stringer, a former fashion editor and designer for Converse, has dressed all of the stars of the show including Sam Frost and Anna Heinrich and will also be responsible for the new Bachelorette Georgia Love’s wardrobe.

To prepare for every season she spends two weeks scouring showrooms and meeting designers all around the country before spending about an hour with each girl getting to know their individual style, looking through their suitcases and fitting them for the first rose ceremony.

The show features both borrowed clothing and the bachelorettes’ own looks. Stringer said only one contestant this year made an unrealistic request behind the scenes.

“We ask them what labels they like to wear and what they feel comfortable wearing. One girl this year said she wanted something by J’Aton, that hasn’t happened yet but hopefully in future seasons.”

Brands including Cappellazzo Couture, usually seen on the Brownlow red carpet, Jason Grech and Ae’lkemi have so far been popular with the cast. Kookai is also featured on the show but, when approached by Fairfax Media, a representative refused to comment on the involvement.

Misha designer Michelle Aznavorian knows the power of mainstream popularity having recruited model of the minute Bella Hadid for her Fashion Week debut and joining the Myer stable of brands earlier this year. Expect to see about five of her fashion forward gowns on the show in the coming weeks.

“Khloe Kardashian can wear a dress but when a reality TV star appears in one it goes bonkers. We’ve seen a spike in sales since being involved with The Bachelor, you can really see people interact with the brand when a real girl wears it,” Aznavorian said.

Star of the most recent The Bachelorette series in the United States, JoJo Fletcher wore a $360 Misha dress for the show’s finale which resulted in Aznavorian receiving about 200 emails overnight and 3000 more Instagram followers. Within days of of the episode going to air all of her pre-ordered stock of that specific Trivata dress sold out.

Ollie Henderson, an Australian model who identifies as queer, is not your average human coathanger. She’s Miranda Kerr with a social conscience.

The 27-year-old, who says she found her “political self” when she came out 10 years ago, gave up her international modelling career and the catwalks of New York, London, Paris and Milan in 2014 as she was embarrassed to be an Australian abroad. Not for the lippy tourists but for the government’s approach to refugees, climate change and marriage equality.

She returned home and founded the not-for-profit activist organisation House of Riot by designing 100 T-shirts emblazoned with positive political slogans such as “Welcome refugees, save lives” and “Shameless slut”. The collection was a hit amongst street style photographers at Fashion Week in Sydney and soon Vogue was featuring the shirts, which she paints by hand.

Outside of House of Riot Henderson is studying social and political science fulltime at Sydney University and also works with Sexual Violence Won’t Be Silenced, an advocacy group which is now focused on educating more people about their rights and responsibilities online.

Earlier this year she became involved with the groundbreaking case that saw Sydney man Zane Alchin sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour bond for making sexually explicit threats to a woman on Facebook.

“We were very pleased it had an outcome. So many people don’t even realise that it’s illegal behaviour and don’t even go to the police and if they do it rarely makes it to court. So to have the perpetrator convicted is a big win,” she said.

Her outspokenness would traditionally scare off the corporate world however Henderson has now been recruited to front Westfield’s new spring-summer campaign, Front The Line.

“Westfield aims to capture the energy and confidence that comes from pursuing your ambitions, while embracing a unique and individual approach to personal style, Ollie has that in spades,” a spokesperson said.

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