Someone free us from fashion talent shows

There was a time in TV history when every job, hobby, or discipline seemed to be worthy of become protagonists of a talent show. In the beginning it was music, then cooking, also declined in the pastry shop, passing through football, to then arrive at the more generic definition of “someone with talent”. Fashion, for its part, did not sit idly by, and in the golden age of talent it got busy with America’s Next Top Model (complete with an Italian version that lasted four seasons) and with Project Runwaysconducted by the couple formed by Heidi Klum And Tim Gunn – and produced by Harvey Weinstein, but that’s another story.

After Gunn and Klum’s divorce with the network that owns the format, the two decided to move, creating the rich and Amazon-produced twin, Making The Cut, carrying on the tradition of the fashion talent show even in the era of online streaming. It was 2020 and while fashion traveled on social media at an unprecedented speed compared to previous years, the streaming giants seemed to ignore it. He then responded to the Amazon-branded program Netflixwhich just a few weeks ago released the second season of Next in Fashionwhere twelve emerging designers compete under the guidance of Tan France And Gigi Hadidwhich has taken the place of Alexa Chung after the first season.

The mechanism is always the same: in each episode the participants have to create one or more dresses in an ever shorter period of time, each time inspired by a different theme. The results are in many cases bordering on the presentable, with judges seemingly forced to find something positive in clothes that none of them would dare to wear – even if more than one keeps repeating “You have to get me one”. The fault is not to be found in the competitors, often chosen with an eye to natural selection so much so that it only takes a few minutes to understand who is there by chance and who is trying to win, but in a basic idea that is not only dated, but also far from the mechanisms of the fashion world.

If it is true that the fashion system moves at an inhuman pace, giving competitors a few hours to create a themed dress Met Gala it means wanting to offer the viewer a product that is not very credible. The same can be said when the poor unfortunates competing are asked to create a collection inspired by the world of nature using flowers and plants applied to the clothes for a result bordering on the carnivalesque. Despite the long list of guests called to ennoble the cause (Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Donatella Versace, Isabel Marant And Naomi Campbell just to name a few), we could hardly say that programs like Making The Cut or Next In Fashion do a good service to the fashion worldbut rather they carry forward that superficial and sometimes grotesque idea that reigns in general opinion.

It is strange that two realities such as Amazon and Netflix, certainly not the Rai on duty, are unable to decline a fashion talent in a version that is minimally in step with the times. THE social networks, for example, are the great absentees, especially today that 99% of fashion passes through our Instagram feeds or the For You page of TikTok and the success of a brand is decided by algorithm. But looking back, how many winners have really made their fortune in the fashion world?

Christian Siriano is perhaps the most famous name among those of the Project Runway winners, while if we look at the last few years it is difficult to understand what designers like Jonny Cota or Andrea Pitter have been up to after winning Making The Cut. If it is true that entertainment has changed and that talent shows have been in their descending phase for years now, the fashion world has long since entered a dimension where talent can be judged online by a boundless audience of potential customers and not by a group of celebrities paid to pass judgment on a set filled with extras. But above all, in a fashion system where independent designers struggle to stay afloat, what’s the point of deceiving someone that they can only be successful by winning a talent show?

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