Talent shows exist in any area. The most famous are those of the kitchen, while those relating to Fashion Design are in short supply. If we exclude Project Runway in fact, only Netflix has its own talent show dedicated to fashion.
This spring, however, something happened: after 16 seasons of Project Runway Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn decided to create a new reality show together with Amazon, to be distributed on Amazon’s platform, Prime Video. The result was Making The Cut, a talent show that in a certain sense moves away from the classic idea of having designers challenge to elect the best.
Making The Cut: not only designer
Much closer to Next In Fashion by Nextflix, Making The Cut brings together people who already have a brand, or who have a very specific idea of their brand (although they do not already have a store), with the idea of reward the one who will be able to carry on the next global brand – thanks to tutoring with Amazon Fashion and a million dollar prize.
It is therefore not simply a matter of knowing how to make creations, of being good stylists. For example, sartorial skills are not required: a team of seamstresses is entrusted to each competitor. So, in addition to creating the dress, the competitor must be able to transmit the idea and manufacture to those who will then have to make it. One thing that comes closest to the concept of creative director – and this is the important novelty of this reality show, in my opinion.
I immediately liked the idea because it brought the concept that Fashion is not just style and creativity to the general public. In fact, fashion is an economic industry and as such it also combines creativity with entrepreneurial choices. And this is a point that is always put aside when it comes to creative works. As if creativity itself sold.
The limits of Making The Cut
One of the biggest limitations that I found in Making The Cut, however, is the usual preliminary idea that only a style type can define a global brand.
Throughout the competition, the judges continue to say they want to reward not only the creations, but also the entrepreneur behind it. The one who has a convincing idea. And for this they ask creatives to create two versions of their look, one “freer” and one more accessible. And every time people succeed, some more or less, showing that each style can have its own accessible version.
But in the end Making The Cut rewards (I don’t want to spoil you, but you will realize it for yourself) the brand that already has a consumer style identity. Although the intent is to reward those who have a valid idea, they fall into the trap of relying on what they could already sell. What is already stylistically in stores and that presents a bit of novelty. In short, they fall into the idea that to be a global brand, your style must be a consumer style.
And that’s a big bias. A prejudice that does not allow fashion to develop in a diversified way, on the one hand, and that does not even allow people to be able to develop a different taste from what is already proposed to them.
Avant-Garde Fashion can be widely used
In the competition there are at least three creatives (Esther, Sander and Santo) who carry on an avant-garde style. A style that in reality has many diversifications: Esther, for example, starts from underground culture, Sander takes inspiration from high fashion, Santo looks a lot at minimalism.
The message of the program is that these people cannot create a global brand, but only a niche one. Because their stylistic choices are not widely used. Because there are those who do not use prints, there are those who do not use colors, there are those who do not like making traditional t-shirts.
However, this idea clashes with the reality of stylists like Rick Owens, Isee Miyake, Yamamoto, Kawakubo or brands like Demobaza. Stylists and brands that have a non-generalist aesthetic, but that still remain global brands. They sell all over the world, because all over the world there are people who love different styles.
Because the world is made up of different people and even the same people love being able not to always wear the same things in the same style. Especially if you give him the opportunity to find them, to know them, to love them! Preventing this from happening creates only a vicious circle in which these things will remain niche not so much in terms of sales, but in terms of style.
Men’s fashion is not experimental?
And then there is the problem of men’s fashion! Although in the competition we try to go beyond the concept of size, by parading models of different sizes (which I found really nice), there is still the limit linked to gender: few men’s clothes and always not very experimental.
This however is not a limitation of the show. It is a limit of fashion: of fashion of how it is taught to designers, of how it is told, of how it is sold, of fossilization on women as the only field of experimentation.
In 2020 it cannot be like this anymore. I don’t even want to talk about genderless fashion, but simply one cannot help but notice that among us there are more and more people living who love people with the most disparate identities. People who are looking for them, like everyone else, through fashion, their way of expressing themselves. And this cannot be relegated to only a few experimental niche brands!
It is impossible that fashion does not notice all these people. It is impossible that he does not understand that these people exist and that these people have to dress. It is not possible that men’s fashion is anchored to the stylistic features of 200 years ago despite the fact that the company has moved forward and is no longer as it was 200 years ago.
In short, Making The Cut certainly has the merit of showing an entrepreneurial side of fashion that many ignore, but we must also begin to revolutionize the concept of consumer style and understand that man today has various visions of masculinity and we should be able to experiment and design for each of these, not just for one.