How Tim Gunn Will Teach ‘Making the Cut’ Contestants More Than ‘Project Runway’

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum have moved on from Project Runway. They started a new fashion competition show on Amazon called Making the Cut. 12 designers will compete in fashion challenges in cities around the world from New York to Paris and Tokyo. Since Amazon Prime is streaming the show, Amazon will also sell some of the entries in each challenge.

Making the Cut in Tokyo
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn | Amazon

Gunn was on a Television Critics Association panel for Making the Cut on Jan. 14 discussing the new show. He saw it as the next level of advancement from Project Runway. Making the Cut is now on Amazon Prime with new episodes Fridays. 

Tim Gunn says you have to graduate ‘Project Runway’ to qualify for ‘Making the Cut’

Gunn and Klum did 17 seasons of Project Runway. While the show continued without them, he sees Making the Cut as a chance to give contestants more of a master class.

“To be perfectly honest about it, perfectly blunt, Making the Cut wouldn’t have happened without Project Runway,” Gunn said. “In my role as a teacher for most of my life, I would say that Project Runway is the undergraduate program and Making the Cut is the graduate and Ph.D. program.”

‘Making the Cut’ contestants already know the basics

Project Runway was about challenging contestants with limitations to see how they could make something. In Making the Cut, Gunn and co. assume the designers know how to make things. The competitions are bigger picture.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn | Amazon

“In Project Runway, we talk about how a sleeve is set into a bodice,” Gunn said. “You don’t hear a conversation like that happening on Making the Cut. It’s more about how does this mini-collection you’ve designed for this particular episode’s assignment, how does this fit into your larger view of your brand? It really is about finding the next global brand, and we do.”

Tim Gunn needed to do something different than ‘Project Runway’

Gunn has no ill words to speak of Project Runway. If anything, leaving the show gave him and Klum a chance to break free of the formula, even though it was a formula they created.

Making the Cut in Paris
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn | Amazon

“Who knew when we were taping Season 1 of Project Runway that it would be a success? When we returned for Season 2, we were in a lockstep in a way, with a formula that had been determined in Season 1. Then you perpetuate it further into Season 3, and then eventually into Seasons 10 through 16. We couldn’t break out of it because there was a fear, not among us, but from the viewpoint of where the show sat, there was a fear about leaving that formula. Well now, I hope you find when you watch Making the Cut that there are constant surprises.”

Tim Gunn, Making the Cut Television Critics Association panel, 1/14/2020

Amazon adds another level to ‘Making the Cut’ too

Giving the designers an immediate platform to sell their designs before the competition is even over is another advantage to working with Amazon. Gunn clarified, though, that Amazon is not dictating what they design.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn | Kristy Sparow/Amazon

“I don’t want anyone to think that we were thinking about a relationship with Amazon and thinking, ‘Oh we have to dumb these clothes down. These designs are too outré.” Gunn said. “Things can be translated in such a way that they become affordable and that the fabrics are accessible. It’s been a joy rather than a challenge to work with Amazon Fashion in how that’s actually done, and it hasn’t in any way compromised the designers’ work.”