Designer Maxwell Osborne of the fashion label Public School

Designer Maxwell Osborne of the fashion label Public School

*The Ovation Channel wants to make this clear – its upcoming unscripted series “Fashion Fund” is no “Project Runway,” nor is it akin to “Fashion Star,” “Styled to Rock” or any other fashion-related reality series on television.

And the network speaks the truth.

Fashion industry insiders already know about the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Currently in its 10th year, the annual effort invites American-based designers to compete for a $300,000 grant and a one-year mentorship with an industry icon.

It takes place every year – whether cameras are there to film it for a TV show or not. This, producers claim, sets the show apart.

Also – it’s the only fashion series with Vogue editor Anna Wintour as a judge.

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour

Wintour anchors the Fashion Fund’s selection committee, alongside legendary designer Diane von Furstenberg, Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus, Andrew Rosen of Theory, Jenna Lyons of J.Crew, and more.

The one-hour series, premiering Jan. 22 at 10 p.m., brings cameras into the lives of the contestants, and into in the “war room” as the judges decide which designers will advance, based on both the creativity of the clothing and the designer’s ability to make money.

Viewers also tag along as designers attend legendary studio visits, a Vogue fashion photo shoot and, ultimately, a presentation at NYC Fashion Week and the announcement of the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner.

The show is so serious that it doesn’t care if reporters reveal the winning designer. It’s reasoning is, true followers of fashion would already know anyway. (We won’t spoil it here.)

Three of the finalists – Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of the design team Public School and Juan Carlos Obando – attended a panel for the series held Friday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour.

We asked Maxwell if “Nuclear Wintour” was as intimidating as pop culture has made her out to be.

Ovation’s “The Fashion Fund” premieres Jan. 22 at 10 p.m. Watch the trailer below.