Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn went from making it work at Project Runway to fusing fashion design and globally-minded ecommerce in Amazon’s forthcoming fashion competition series Making the Cut. The pair, who host and executive produce the series, were joined on the TCA dais by fellow EP Sara Rea and judges Nicole Richie, designer Joseph Altuzarra and supermodel icon Naomi Campbell (fourth judge Carine Roitfeld, former EIC of Vogue Paris was unable to attend), to talk about the new series and how it differs from Klum and Gunn’s previous gig.
“For the first time our audience can shop — it’s a win-win situation,” said Klum about how Making the Cut is different from Project Runway. “It was never possible before.”
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In the 10-episode series, which premieres March 27, twelve designers, who were culled from thousands, compete in New York, Paris and Tokyo to bring their brands to a new level. As the panel points out, it’s not only about fashion design but it’s about building it into a global brand. More than that, it takes the premise of Project Runway and builds on it.
Each week, two episodes will debut and the winning look of each episode will be available for purchase (each look will go for under $100) immediately after the show on Amazon in 200 territories where the series will be available. The winner of the whole shebang will receive one million dollars to invest in their brand and the opportunity to create an exclusive line available on Amazon Fashion.
This may be a new venture for Klum and Gunn, but they don’t forget where they came from. “Making the cut wouldn’t have happened without Project Runway,” said Gunn. Being a teacher, he used a collegiate lens to compare Project Runway and Making the Cut, saying that the former is more of an undergrad experience while the latter is like a PhD experience.
Klum said the contestants for the show are from all around the world and feature very established designers to newbies as well as people who are “young, old and in between.” The show will be very inclusive with plus-size designs that are not a specialty competition. In addition, Klum said that each challenge will give designers a chance to create something conceptual and unconventional as well as something wearable that can be sold on Amazon. This is what makes Making the Cut its own kind of competition outside of Project Runway — that and more money.
“When you have a bigger budget, you get to travel and let these designers see different things,” Klum adds. “It makes for a better show.” She points out that real designers love to travel the world for inspiration and come back and use that inspiration to create.”
Gunn said the success of Project Runway was unexpected and when they returned from season two, they were “lock-step in a formula.”
“We couldn’t break out for fear of leaving the formula,” he said. “With Making the Cut, there are surprises.”
Even though there is an eCommerce component in Making the Cut, Gunn assures that it won’t affect the creativity that comes out of the show. “We know from experience and the work that we have done with Amazon Fashion, things can be translated in a way where they are accessible,” he said. “It’s a joy to work with Amazon Fashion and it hasn’t compromised the designer’s work.”
For Richie and Campbell, they found it exciting to work with designers on their journey as judges.
“This is not about who’s the best or luxurious designer,” said Richie. “It’s about who can be a designer and turn this into a brand. It’s something that we can relate to and understand.”
Campbell added, “We got to be part of [the designer’s] work in progress and giving them advice on what we learned in our career. That gives purpose and satisfaction to us. We have to keep evolving in fashion and producing the next set of great designers.”
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