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Making the Cut vs. Project Runway

Even if you never watched the show, you’ve almost definitely heard of Project Runway, an American reality TV show once hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum that focuses on fashion design. The show was also co-hosted by famous fashion consultant Tim Gunn who worked as a mentor for all the designers. Like most reality TV shows, the contestants go through a series of design challenges each week. At the end of every episode there is a runway show where all of the contestant’s looks are shown to a panel of judges. The judges then select a winner of that challenge who has immunity for the next one, and someone else is sent home. However, in March of 2019 the show started its first season without Klum and Gunn, who had both signed on to host a new fashion related reality show through Amazon Prime, Making the Cut. So that begs the question; if the hosts are the same and the basis of the shows are the same, what makes Making the Cut different from Project Runway?


The Immunity


As mentioned earlier, if you were named the winner on an episode of Project Runway you received immunity for the next challenge, which meant that even if the judges did not like your look, you were safe until the next challenge. In Making the Cut, there is no immunity. So even if you won the previous challenge, if the judges stop liking your looks and seeing your potential you can be eliminated at any time. And speaking on elimination, there’s no limit as to how many contestants can be eliminated in an episode of Making the Cut, so just because somebody else has already been sent home doesn’t mean you are safe.


The Contestants


In Project Runway, the majority of the contestants are just starting out their careers in fashion, while Making the Cut features established designers who the majority of already have their own brands and some even have their own stores. Making the Cut also features 12 contestants as opposed to Project Runways where there are 16. This may not seem like a big difference, especially considering there are less episodes of Making the Cut, but the show gets serious much faster as it takes a lot less time to get to the final three contestants.


The Seamstresses


One large noticeable difference between the two shows is in Making the Cut, the designers have seamstresses who can put their garments together at the end of each day, not only saving the designers time and energy but also putting even more emphasis on the design aspect of the show. In Project Runway the designers had to construct all the pieces themselves.


The Locations


While the contestants of Project Runway spent their time designing making their garments in New York City, one of the top fashion capitals of the world (#2 to be specific), the contestants on Making the Cut get to go to Paris and Tokyo as well to get new inspiration throughout their design journey.


The Sponsorship


With Amazon being the company sponsoring Making the Cut, it’s no wonder that they have a much larger budget than Project Runway. This larger budget does not only allow seamstresses and new locations to be a part of the show, it also allows the designers to spend more than $100 on materials for each challenge, which is the price limit for Project Runway. Amazon’s large budget also cuts out the number of “quirky” episodes (according to my mom) that were sponsored by companies such as Lexus or Dylan’s Candy Bar where the contestants had to design and create their looks using only obscure materials. And don’t get me wrong I always enjoyed those episodes of Project Runway, but Making the Cut seems like a much more sophisticated show because of the lack of them. However, one downside to having Amazon as a sponsorship on Making the Cut is that one of the looks the designers make each week needs to an accessible look, which limits some of the designer’s creativity.


The Prize


The winner of both shows get to take away a grand prize at the end of each season, but just how grand the prize is, differs between the two shows. On Project Runway, the grand prize includes $250,000 and an assortment of other things that changes from season to season, such as a new car, a feature in a magazine, and multiple other things. Again, thanks to Amazon’s large budget, the winner of Making the Cut gets to take home $1 million dollars and has the chance to sell their collection on Amazon. Making the Cut also has a prize at the end of each individual episode, where the winning contestant’s look will also be sold on Amazon.


The Business Aspect


The biggest difference I noticed between these two shows is that while Project Runway focuses solely on the design capabilities of their contestants, Making the Cut also focuses on the business capabilities. When judging who the winner should be, they also consider how the contestant would fair leading a global brand and what their leadership abilities are. You could be the best designer on the show but if you’re not cut out to be a business leader, then “you’re not making the cut”.

Happy on the beach with some sushi
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