It may have been hammed up for TV, but the finale of reality show The Rachel Zoe Project saw the celebrity stylist getting all frazzled over a presentation of her label's store-within-a-store - all to snag some prime floor space in department store Bloomingdale's.
So when homegrown label Raoul announced the opening of its in-store boutique at the shopping institution's New York flagship last month, it was, to borrow Zoe's catchphrase, bananas.
Even the story behind the brand's latest coup sounded like a fashion fairy tale.
Douglas Benjamin, chief executive officer of FJ Benjamin and co-creative director of Raoul explained: "During the sales campaign for Spring-Summer 2012, Bloomingdale's top management came to our showroom, liked the line so much and offered us a space on their third floor. I travelled to New York to discuss the actual location with the management and this resulted in the space we have today."
But for much smaller homegrown designers harbouring ambitions of international success, gaining a fraction of Raoul's global exposure can only be a fantasy.
Raoul, after all, is owned by local retail behemoth FJ Benjamin, a publicly listed company with over 170 retail stores and hundreds of distribution points in Asia.
In the meantime, they rely on trade shows, where buyers from around the globe seek out young, undiscovered designers, to reach out to international buyers.
Blueprint, held in conjunction with shopping event the Audi Fashion Festival, is one such exhibition which takes place here.
Last year, homegrown exotic skin bag designer Ling Wu managed to secure stockists like Jrose Rocco from Korea, Shine from Hong Kong and S2 from Perth through the trade show; while the likes of womenswear label Ong Shunmugam and jewellery brand By Invite Only are hoping to wow buyers from Seven New York (NYC), Lotte (Korea), Bauhaus (HK), Central World (Thailand) and Asos (UK) at this year's event.
"Participating in any kind of trade show at all is very important because it gives your brand good exposure, and it's a good way to measure where you stand based on the feedback you receive from the buyers," says Aaron Kao, designer of Singaporean accessories label Vice & Vanity, which was picked up by Hong Kong luxury boutique Joyce at the 2010 edition of Blueprint.
"Think of trade shows as long term investments that aid in the learning process as a designer, rather than simply focus on reaping immediate sales."
Indeed, for Young & Restless, an emerging womenswear brand stocked in Singapore store Blackmarket No.2 and a boutique based in Washington, investing in a spot at a trade show doesn't quite guarantee commercial interest.
"We were situated at one of the least strategic locations at one trade show venue, with very poor traffic," says Rachel Lim, managing director of fashion label Young & Restless, who has participated at Blueprint, Modefabriek in Amsterdam and Margin London.
"We ended up meeting very few genuine buyers and did not secure a single account."
And even if a small label were to be spotted by a superstar buyer, it doesn't spell instant success with the international retailer.
Meeting deliveries and managing the quality of the wares, or even maintaining the interest of a stockist in a foreign market after the initial pick-up, are just some of the challenges faced by emerging brands.
"Particularly trying is the stringent schedule of working two to three seasons ahead to meet the demands of press and buyers," adds Ms Lim.
The rigorous pace also means huge costs - from creating samples to being able to produce the orders in overseas factories, as Singapore doesn't have a garment manufacturing industry to boast of, says Mr Benjamin.
Lack of access
Another problem is a lack of access to foreign press and buyers.
Raoul, for example, has showrooms in New York and Milan to cater to international editors and buyers, so that industry players could feel and try on their designs.
"Though we're based in Singapore, we feel the need to market our brand internationally, and having lived and worked in New York for a couple of years, we're well aware of how the fashion industry works," says Catrine The, designer of luxe Singapore-based womenswear brand Koonhor, which is stocked in seven boutiques across the US.
"The distribution of our collection in the US was made possible by having a sales showroom and PR representatives in New York. Together, they work hand in hand to promote our brand during Fashion Week and sales campaign periods."
Luckily for Vice & Vanity, it managed to garner interest from a wide range of international publications, ranging from American titles such as Elle and Marie Claire to the British edition of Wallpaper, without a marketing strategy or press team.
But although the brand received international media exposure thanks to initial mentions on blogs and websites, other labels tend to rely on fashion public relations agents to get the word out in a new market.
"There has to be hype in order for greater presence," says Singaporean designer of menswear brand Antebellum, Chia Wei Choong.
"It's not only about making the clothes but making sure they get featured through the right channels - a couple of blog mentions are great, but they're nothing compared to an international title like Vogue including even the tiniest snippet about your label."
Cue Front Row Studio (FRS), a wholesale initiative which holds the hands of its stable of emerging Asian designers, from connecting regional brands to larger markets such as China and South Korea to helping them with distribution and public relations.
Thai-born Ann Kositchotitana, founder of multi-label boutique Front Row and Front Row Studio has secured, for example, 70 worldwide stockists for Bangkok-based accessories label Frank.
"In terms of trade, our designers are gaining exposure through our network of retailers, distributors and franchise operators. From the PR side, we leverage the reputation of Front Row as a leading concept store, and I mention all my brands during interviews with foreign publications."
As for indie labels hoping to limit costs by cutting out sales and PR agents, the quickest way to reach out to a global audience is through the Internet.
In fact, a slew of Singapore-based online sites such as Shopthemag.com or Eriin.com are focused solely on Asian designers, who wouldn't have had access to international shoppers otherwise.
"If you run an online business, you do have to stop thinking local," says Corinne Ng, founder of year-old Asian shopping portal Shopthemag.com.
"Suddenly, the world is your customer and you have to strategise carefully to make sure you reach the right people around the world without blowing your marketing budget."
Fashion devotees may instantly flock to e-retail giant Net-a-Porter to get their latest fashion fixes from major brands like Lanvin or Karl Lagerfeld, but there has to be a whole lot of buzz to draw the fickle online shopper to unheard-of Asian labels.
Shopthemag.com, for example, blasts out regular press releases about its brands to the international media. The year-old site will launch a "Backing Asian Designers" (B.A.D) campaign in mid-April, aimed to highlight top-tier designers in Asia through exclusive interviews with industry types like models, fashion lensmen and fashion directors, and rope in celebrities and bloggers dressed in Asian designer togs to grab the attention of global shoppers.
All in an effort to up its current base of 2,000 members, 60 per cent of whom are international customers.
But as laudable it may be for retail sites to champion homegrown fashion houses, wouldn't Asian designer-only businesses serve to pigeonhole regional labels, rather than position them as international brands worthy of global attention?
"We are known as the site to go to if you want to find out who is up and coming in Asia and buyers all over the world have approached some of the brands we've found first to ask if they could stock them," says Ms Ng.
"So I think the converse is true - we have propelled the international success of some of the labels we carry. If a label is relevant internationally, both in design and quality, the label will be successful all over the world. It doesn't matter where they were first found."
Ultimately, to make it as a fashion powerhouse on an international scale, Asian designers need to be able to compete globally in terms of design, quality and publicity.
"As 'international' as Singapore is, there are huge markets out there that have completely different requirements and tastes," says Mr Benjamin.
"So if you want to be an international brand, you have to think international."
Easier said then done, but it's nevertheless sound advice for designers hoping to make waves beyond our shores.
This article was first published in The Business Times.