Your Complete Guide To Making The Cut, Starring Tim Gunn & Heidi Klum

Eliza Huber

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 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 moulding 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 “greying 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. 

Sander Bos, 24, Hasselt, Belgium

If avant-garde designs are your bread and butter, look no further than 24-year-old Dutch designer Sander Bos. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Bos proves episode after episode that risks aren’t something to shy away from, especially when they come in the form of voluminous jumpsuits, feather micro mini dresses, and ensembles that include both twill and tulle.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Rinat Brodach, 35, New York City, U.S.

What’s an up-and-comer to do after dressing Billy Porter and Laverne Cox? If you’re Israeli-born designer Rinat Brodach, you join a competitive fashion show, that’s what. Her namesake line features a minimal, unisex aesthetic that mimics her own unique sense of style.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Ji Won Choi, 26, New York City, U.S.

Like Brodach, 26-year-old Seoul native Ji Won Choi has already seen her fair share of success in the fashion industry. In fact, the Parsons graduate had a successful collaborative collection with Adidas under her belt long before Making The Cut, the likes of which have been worn by Beyoncé and Kendall Jenner. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.
Jasmine Chong, 31, New York City, U.S.

For 31-year-old Malaysian designer Jasmine Chong, a career in fashion was always in the cards. Her namesake collection, which specializes in pieces for women of all body types, was inspired by her seamstress grandmother and her fashion designer mother. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Jonny Cota, 35, Los Angeles, U.S.

Leather is the name of the game for L.A. native Jonny Cota, whose elevated streetwear brand Skingraft has shown five times at NYFW. Despite lacking any formal design education, Cota has managed to get his designs on the likes of Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.
Martha Gottwald, 28, Richmond, U.S.

For Martha Gottwald, a Louisiana native and mother of two, creating a successful fashion brand isn’t about knowing how to sew or cut. Instead, the owner of womenswear brand Neubyrne, which was featured in British Vogue and presented at NYFW, relies on her eye for colour, silhouettes, and patterns to create clothing that women want to wear. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Troy Hul Arnold, 34, New York City, U.S.

As a professor at one of New York City’s most prestigious fashion design schools, Troy Hul Arnold is an expert in the technical aspects of designing a beautiful garment, proven by Sarah Jessica Parker, who chose to wear a piece from his namesake line Hul Arnold on the set of Glee in 2013.Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Joshua Hupper, 38, Shanghai, China 

Hailing from a small town near Columbus, Ohio, Joshua Hupper has found unprecedented success in fashion. Trained during internships at Diane von Furstenburg and Thakoon, Hupper went on to found BABYGHOST, an e-commerce brand based in China, after moving to Shanghai. The brand has since been featured in VoguePhoto Courtesy of Amazon.

Esther Perbandt, 43, Berlin, Germany

The eponymous label of this Berlin-based designer was inspired by her time spent living in Berlin, Paris, and Moscow — and is made up of only black pieces, which you should expect to see continue throughout her time on Making The Cut. Her brand is highly successful in Germany, which is how she’s maintained it for over 15 years. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Will Riddle, 31, New York City, U.S.

Since leaving his life in small-town Ohio behind and moving to New York City, 31-year-old Will Riddle has built up quite the impressive resume, including stints as the Atelier Director at Oscar de la Renta and 3.1 Philip Lim. Prior to joining Making The Cut, Riddle was a men’s designer at Kith. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.
Sabato Russo, 64, Milan, Italy

The eldest and most experienced designer in the bunch, 64-year-old Sabato Russo has worked in fashion for over 25 years, starting with modelling before going into design. Russo is the owner of two successful Milanese brands, Sartorial Monk and Sabato Russo, both of which are all about elegance, minimalism, and luxury. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Megan Smith, 38, Los Angeles, U.S.

Megan Smith’s line, Megan Renee, is the epitome of Los Angeles fashion: ‘70s-inspired, trend-heavy, and ultra-feminine. The Kansas City native moved to the California metropolis to first design for private labels, but after showing her first collection during spring ‘2018 Los Angeles Fashion Week, she knew she had to branch out full-time on her own.Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

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