6 Fashion Lessons We Learned From the Judges on ‘Making the Cut’


If you’re looking for your next binge-watch (and aren’t we all?), add Amazon Prime’s show, Making the Cut to the list. It premiered at the end of March, and the entire first season is now available to stream. If you’re a fan of fashion-competition shows dotted with occasional drama and snarky comments, you’ll whip through the 10 episodes.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn host the show, which follows 12 designers competing for the chance to take their established labels global—each episode’s winning look was available for purchase on Amazon immediately after the show (and sold out quickly)! The final winner won a million dollars to invest in their brand, plus an opportunity to create an exclusive collection that’s available on Amazon now.

The designers are all likable enough, but the most entertaining parts of the show are the judges’ critiques—Heidi, Nicole Richie, designer Joseph Altuzarra, editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book Carine Roitfeld, Naomi Campbell, and super-influencer Chiara Ferragni offer commentary during the fashion shows as each look comes down the runway.

Then, at the end of each episode, they call on the contestants individually to shower them with high praise or give the nervous designers an opportunity to defend their brand in hopes of (drum roll) making the cut for that week.

making the cut judges

Judges Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Chiara Ferragni, Joseph Altuzarra, and Heidi Klum

Amazon Prime

The judges offer the designers direction and valuable insight into the fashion space and for building a brand in general. Even if you’re not a fashion designer, there are plenty of valuable lessons to take away from the Making the Cut judges’ feedback. Here are six of them:

Think twice before baring it all.

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During the show’s first fashion show (in Paris, by the way), one of contestant Jasmine Chong’s designs is a very sheer dress, and the judges’ main issue with the look is the lack of layering. Both Naomi and Heidi make comments about seeing more than they would’ve liked because the model is so bare beneath the see-through garment. Moral of the story: Be strategic with how much you’re revealing when trying out the sheer trend—as well as with anything else. A flash of skin can be compelling, but going overboard tends to be distracting.

Consider if your look feels “finished.”

making the cut

One of Martha’s looks during episode 1

Amazon Prime

While talking to designer Martha Gottwald following the first fashion show, Naomi emphasizes the importance of completing a look. Instead of pairing tailored pants with a bandeau that looks like an after-thought, she advises that Martha should have also done something cleaner with the top. This applies in real life, too: If you’re wearing a statement pant or skirt, you’ll want something on top that shows equal effort—even if it’s a polished tee.

Soften a tougher piece with something feminine.

making the cut

Jonny and Megan’s collaborative looks

Amazon Prime

Following episode three’s competition—which entailed pairs of designers collaborating on the looks for that week—Joseph commends Megan Smith and Jonny Cota for one of their three jointly designed looks: a flirty black-and-white striped v-neck dress with a leather jacket on top. Joseph says adding some feminine flair can make a leather jacket pop, and it’s advice worth noting for anytime you want the best of both worlds.

making the cut

Sander’s accessible look in episode 7

Amazon Prime

Additionally, during one of the fashion shows in Tokyo, the judges are very impressed with one of Sander Bos’ looks. Chiara specifically makes a comment about loving the contrast between traditionally feminine and masculine elements in the look—a cream dress with some frills with a more structured jacket on top. This could be a fun way to change things up and combine items in your closet you might not normally think to.

Tread carefully when mixing prints.

making the cut

Josh and Troy’s collaborative looks

Amazon Prime

Joshua Hupper and Troy Arnold’s collaborative looks are an explosion of random patterns and fabric—including leopard print, florals, sequins, and velvet. The judges are less than thrilled (Naomi calls it a “recipe of disaster”) and emphasize that yes, clashing prints can work, but in a way that makes sense. Pick prints that feel cohesive, like different animal prints.

Stay. On. Brand.

making the cut

Amazon Prime

A big theme throughout the entire show is being “on brand.” The judges are constantly challenging the designers to really figure out who they are as a brand and how they can consistently show that in the competition through the looks they’re creating. This is applicable for all of us in terms of our individual style, as well as building a personal or professional brand: In all three, staying true to yourself and what you represent is key to standing out and being remembered.

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