Watch CBSN Live

Hilfiger's 'Cut' Beyond Design

Fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger is looking for the next great designer. So he's kicking off a new reality show called "The Cut" premiering Thursday at 8 p.m./ET on CBS.

But if you think this show is about designing clothes, think again. Hilfiger tell The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler, it is about designing a lifestyle brand.

"In designing a lifestyle brand, you have to know more than just designing clothes," he explains. "It's about designing advertising, designing for celebrities. It's about pop culture fame, fashion, art, music, entertainment. It is about designing for hip-hop stars, rock stars, celebrities, and really having the social skills and vision to do it."

Finding the next great American designer was the reason Hilfiger jumped at the chance to do the reality show.

"That's never been done before," Hilfiger says, "This person is going to receive a $250,000 salary from my company. Have the opportunity to design his or her own collection of products, which we'll put out into the stores. And actually have a great time doing it."

"The Cut" pits 16 contestants against each other in a series of grueling style challenges that will definitely put their fashion sense to the test. Their first assignment is designing a billboard.

"Advertising and marketing in clothing and apparel is as important as anything else," Hilfiger notes. "First you need a great designer. But after that, you have to advertise it in a unique way. I started out with a big billboard on Times Square before anyone knew who I was."

Describing the challenge, Hilfiger says contestants had to brave terrible weather conditions and even one contestant had to go to the emergency room as result of an accident.

"It was very dangerous work," Hilfiger says, "And of course, with 16 contestants living in the same loft in New York City, there is a lot of backstabbing, a lot of cat fighting."

Often with big egos there is also great talent. Hilfiger points out he was amazed by the amount of creativity in the group.

"CBS did all of the casting for me," he says, "I thought, let's see what this is like. In fact, they're all so talented it was hard for me to eliminate on a weekly basis. But there are some superstars there. And at the end, we will find one. And this person will have a great opportunity to be America's next great designer.