House of Consignment: selling the same old, same old

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Corri McFadden of eDrop-Off and House of Consignment
  • VH1.com
  • Corri McFadden of eDropoff and "House of Consignment"
Confession time: I don’t have cable. I know that's a professional hazard, but there are a lot of things I'd rather spend money on than watching Project Runway. So Wednesday night I headed to the James Hotel for the premiere of VH1's new reality show House of Consignment. Normally I don't care for reality shows—I'd rather see the clothes without suffering through manufactured drama—but this one stars 29-year-old Corri McFadden, who transformed her senior-year project, a business plan for an eBay store reselling luxury clothing and accessories, into the successful Chicago-based business eDrop-Off.

While McFadden, dressed in a short gold sequin dress, tapped away on a laptop while the show aired, periodically interrupted by some of the 200 or so well-wishers who'd shown up to cheer her on, onscreen she posed in the title sequence wearing the obligatory skinny jeans and stilettos. The show lost no time in setting her up as a tough-talking, take-no-crap businesswoman. “I don’t tolerate any ignorance, which is one of my pitfalls, because there are a lot of stupid people,” McFadden says, while quick sequences show her leaving a pissed-off voice mail message and tittering at a client who is complaining that they can’t sell a bag that smells like pee.

After a whirlwind tour of the eDrop-Off offices in Lincoln Park and an explanation of what they do, McFadden and an employee head over to the Gold Coast home of a client—Karyn Calabrese of local vegan eateries Karyn’s Fresh Corner and Karyn's Cooked. Calabrese may hew to an ascetic diet, but she's no hippie: her room-sized closet is stuffed with Prada, Dior, and Hermes. Many items still have tags attached. Blurbs on the screen helpfully explain that "Unworn items with original tags increase resale value” for those who have managed to avoid ever looking at eBay.

After dropping off Calabrese's check—everything sells—there's a cliche Sex and the City moment, where a camera pans McFadden from her long, slim legs up while the soundtrack croons, “Living the dream"—another sign that this show has little intention of breaking any real new ground. I’m still not tempted to get cable, but it's undeniably a thrill to watch a young woman achieve so much business success, the Chicago angle is obviously fun, and it’s somewhat heartening to see a show that transforms conspicuous consumption into a sort of recycling—even if it's accompanied by too many squeals, pouts, and tiny dogs.

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