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Which fashion reality show are you?

Heidi Klum (left) and Tim Gunn of Amazon's "Making the Cut"
(Amazon Studios)

You get a fashion show!
And you get a fashion show!
We all get a fashion show!

Yes, here we are. At a time where we have (at least) three unique fashion reality shows to keep us occupied and entertained: Amazon’s “Making the Cut,” Netflix’s “Next in Fashion” and, of course, “Project Runway,” back at Bravo and in its 18th season.

Plenty of us will happily watch all three of these, basking in all the fabric selecting, sewing machine arguments and over-the-top runway moments.

But not everyone needs this many options, some will be perfectly content with just one. So to figure out which fashion show to commit to, here’s a helpful guide.

The hosts
A. Do you prefer diverse, playful hosts who also wear over-the-top outfits? On “Next in Fashion” you get that thanks to Tan France (known as the fashion expert on “Queer Eye”) and model/designer Alexa Chung.
B. How about familiar faces with decades of experience who aren’t afraid to cheese it up for the camera? Go with “Making the Cut,” starring Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (you know, from the original “Project Runway.”)
C. Or, how about a very tall, no-nonsense model and a former contestant-turned-design-powerhouse? Then you want new “Project Runway” hosts Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano.

Fabric buying
A. Do you want shopping to be part of the contest? On “Project Runway” designers go to beloved New York fabric store, Mood, where they have a set budget and time limit. Naturally, this brings out a lot of drama, but that’s balanced by glimpses of the store’s cute dog/mascot, Swatch.
B. If instead you’d like to see luxury fabric shops in Paris and Tokyo, tune in to “Making the Cut.” This show doesn’t give contestants any time or budget constraints, providing a more realistic approach to how designers actually use fabrics to inspire ideas.
C. Do you hate the fabric portion of these reality shows? On “Next in Fashion” everything the designers need is provided in an in-studio box/store. The only drama that happens here is an occasional falling pole.

The judges of "Making the Cut" in Paris. Heidi Klum, from left, Joseph Altuzarra, Carine Roitfeld, Nicole Richie and Naomi Campbell.
(Amazon Studios)

The judges
A. In its first four episodes (new ones are released each Friday), “Making the Cut” has a panel of judges so unbelievably iconic, any fashion fan should tune in just to hear candid opinions from supermodel Naomi Campbell, former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld (aka Europe’s Anna Wintour), luxe designer Joseph Altuzarra and designer/influencer Nicole Richie.
B. If you prefer a more reliable, comforting judge, “Project Runway” still has Elle editor-in-chief Nina Garcia doling out harsh honesty. New faces are designer Brandon Maxwell (providing the Michael Kors vibes) and journalist Elaine Welteroth.
C. “Next in Fashion” has a rotating panel of judges, mostly made up of influencers and chic designers like Prabal Gurung and Monique Lhuillier.

The runway
A. The point of a fashion reality show is to see the clothes, right? “Project Runway” has perfected the final outfit reveal with a clean, simple runway and unobtrusive soundtrack.
B. As you’re learning, “Making the Cut” is all about being extra, so you get runway shows at the Eiffel Tower and other spots around Paris. There’s a lot happening, including hearing comments from the judges, so you don’t always get a good look at the actual garments.
C. “Next in Fashion” has the most bananas runway - it has a computer animated backdrop, so all of a sudden you’re in a flower fantasy land or a fire dungeon! It’s difficult to focus. But here, the judges go backstage and get a closer look at the clothes, so you get to hear about inspiration and technique.

Project Runway judges: (l-r) Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss
(Barbara Nitke/Bravo)

The contestants
A. As over-the-top as “Making the Cut” is trying to be (did you know the prize money is $1 million?) this batch of international contestants is, as the judges themselves said, “snoozy.” The premise of this show is a search for someone who can lead a global brand, so they don’t necessarily need to be good at sewing. Instead of stitching and draping, this group is focused on preparing kits for seamstresses to sew overnight. So you don’t see as much personality as you do on other shows where people sit around for hours creating.
B. Over on “Next in Fashion,” contestants start out as teams of two. Some teams have known and worked together for years, others are strangers and matched by sensibilities. This tactic really lets you get to know the designers and how they handle stress, how they collaborate and also what talents they have. Later in the season, they remaining groups are separated, but eliminations are always done in twos.
C. “Project Runway” continues to have a good blend of very young designers mixed with fashion veterans. Season 18 boasts 64-year-old Nancy Volpe-Beringer, the oldest person ever to compete on the show. There are also plenty of personalities to keep the workroom scenes entertaining.

Challenges/clothes
A. Of all the shows, “Next in Fashion” has a mix of clothes that are fashion-forward, but that you can also actually imagine wearing. The challenges are simple: streetwear, prints, suits, activewear and while there’s still plenty of crazy messes, you do get the most ready-to-wear options of the bunch.
B. “Project Runway” has (thankfully) toned down on its weird, commercial tie-ins and is back to coming up with truly creative challenges that really test the designers’ skills. There’s a tie-dye episode, one where they can only use donated clothes from Goodwill and an animal prints challenge inspired by the movie, “Cats.” The results are all over the place, which is what we love about it.
C. For as fancy as “Making the Cut” wants to be, it’s (so far) given the most just-got-out-of-fashion-school looks. There are some real head-scratchers there, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Still can’t decide?
Here’s the quick version: “Making the Cut” is all about spectacle, “Next in Fashion” has better clothes but less personality and now that it’s back at Bravo, “Project Runway” is still the gold standard of reality fashion programming.


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