After a two-year hiatus from the world of televised competitive fashion, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are officially back — and the stakes have never been so high. Inspired by the success of Project Runway but with a new slew of judges, a more competitive end-goal, and a much (much) bigger prize, Making The Cut — which premieres on Amazon Prime Video this Friday — tests the limits of 12 designers to see if they have what it takes to not only create beautiful clothing, but also to build a global brand. And in today’s fashion landscape, that takes more than intricate sewing skills and an eye for fabrics and colours.
As the co-hosts and co-creators, Klum and Gunn will hand-select designers from all over the world who they believe could be the next big thing. In the premiere season, prepare to see designers of all ages with all degrees of experience, some with few skills at the sewing machine but major fashion week runway shows under their belts, and others who have mastered the technical aspect but haven’t quite developed a presence in the real world. But a show like this one, where $1 million USD and a mentorship program with Amazon Fashion is on the line, could change the trajectory of anyone’s career — they just have to beat 11 other designers first.
By teaming up with Amazon, Making The Cut offers designers an opportunity unlike any other: the funding and reach necessary to launch a truly global brand. But first, one designer will have to impress the judges, a group of the most respected faces in fashion — including supermodel/philanthropist Naomi Campbell, designer/author/reality star Nicole Richie, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund-winning designer Joseph Altuzarra, former Editor-In-Chief of Vogue Paris and founder of CR Fashion Book Carine Roitfeld, and Chiara Ferragni, of The Blonde Salad.
Each designer will create between one and three looks per week, one of which has to be accessible enough to be sold on Amazon to over 200 territories around the world. The winner of each week’s competition will have their accessible piece uploaded to the Making The Cut Amazon store immediately following the episode. In an effort to make the show as true to the industry possible, all 12 designers will have to collaborate with another designer, be able to delegate to seamstresses, and essentially elevator-pitch themselves to the judges with no warning, at any point in time. They also must design clothing for both men and women of all shapes and sizes.
“We wanted to find a real global brand,” Klum says. “We did not want to judge these individuals on just a case-by-case scenario. We didn't want to just be like, Okay, here's your challenge. You were the best and you were the worst one — you're out. We wanted to give them the opportunity to redeem themselves by speaking to us and explaining possibly why their design came out the way it came out.” At its core, Making The Cut is about shaping and molding a designer who can truly survive in the global fashion space. According to Gunn, Klum’s really looking for someone who can “cut through all the noise.”
And in the end, Klum — with the help of her tag team of judges — found someone who could do just that. “It was definitely hard. We were fighting until probably two in the morning. It was in no way unanimous, which is why it took a really long time,” Klum says of choosing the winner. “But the winning designer has, in our opinion, all of the necessary components to really become the next big global brand,” Gunn adds.
Klum tells us, “It was different on Project Runway, because there wasn't the same level of support, nor was there, in most cases, the same level of experience. On Making the Cut, what’s built into the whole core of the show is branding, branding, branding, and big global branding.” She continues, “That’s what makes this show infinitely more rewarding, because for any designer on the show, there is a much stronger likelihood for success.” But in an industry like fashion, no matter how much money you have or how high your skill level is, anything can happen in the blink of an eye, something that we’re seeing now more than ever as many successful brands are being forced to close up shop amidst a growing global pandemic. “The ride can be over very quickly, even if you have an amazing support team around you. These designers will have to roll up their sleeves and put in the work.”
But don’t worry, like all reality television, Making The Cut will still have its fair share of drama and chaos. Confrontations, tears, betrayals, and lots of sewing machine malfunctions — everything that kept you coming back to Project Runway season after season will assuredly make its way onto Klum and Gunn’s latest venture, except this time, it’s all happening in Paris (and in Tokyo... and in New York City). Oh, and did we mention that mixed with the intensity of the design room are platonic dates between your two favourite TV hosts? Hint: Gunn teaches Klum all about fencing and Klum describes Gunn’s hair as “graying a little bit.” According to Nicole Richie, the whole show was just like “summer camp” — except in Paris with your closest friends. “Joseph and I went to the flea market, obviously. And Naomi and I ended up at the women's soccer game not knowing that they were going to win,” she explains. In other words, it’s reality TV at its finest.
Before the first two episodes premiere on Amazon Prime this Friday, get the low-down on the long-awaited first season of Making The Cut’s line-up of designers by clicking through the slideshow ahead.