For something created with love and passion, fashion sure can be a heartless mistress. A realm of beauty, glitter and glamour, it’s easy to assume that fashion is all fun and games; it’s hobnobbing with the most beautiful people in the world, waking up late and becoming astronomically rich by designing wearable art. But the reality of fashion, retailing and production is as far removed from the beauty it produces as possible.
It helps to better understand the business of fashion; it works in favor of the industry to make its secrets accessible, available for the public to understand what goes into creating a single garment. Not only do you appreciate the clothes you wear for the hard-work they entail but understanding the process forges a closer link between the designer and their clientele.
Netflix’s latest presentation, Next in Fashion, does exactly that while retaining the glamour and beauty we associate with the enterprise. The newest member of reality TV, the show is hosted by model Alexa Chung and Tan France of Queer Eye fame and features top designers in every episode as guest judges along with Hollywood’s top stylists.
We’d like to take a moment here to celebrate Tan France whose real name is Tanveer Wasim, born in the UK to Pakistani-Muslim parents. As the first openly gay Southeast Asian on western TV, the journey for France to the top wasn’t easy but not only did he persevere, he also managed to break a glass ceiling or two along the way.
Coming back to the show, the Netflix presentation is by far the best directed and formatted fashion series we’ve seen. It’s fun to watch, the hosts are natural and encouraging rather than picking on the contestants as is often the norm and the show fosters a sense of family, fraternity and collaboration.
The contestants start off in teams of two, with one team being eliminated in each episode. Teams that find it difficult to collaborate or communicate with ease struggle and are often eliminated. The show is testament to not only talent but self-confidence. If you’re second guessing yourself and are drenched in uncertainty about what you can bring to the table, the confusion and lack of commitment will reflect in your work.
It was also great to see designers originating from India and Pakistan rubbing shoulders with global designers on such a platform. Pakistani American designer, Isaac Saqib (Ishaq to the rest of us!) who is behind the streetwear brand, Mercy and Mankind, and Indian designer Narresh Kukreja, one half of the Shivan and Narresh design duo in our neighboring state, were featured among contestants from around the globe. Whether they make it far or not, you’ll have to watch the series to find out.
Another thing that stood out along the course of the show was the difference between a creative and a designer. A designer is someone who can put together the entire garment single-handedly. From the print to the pattern right down to sewing, overlocking and the styling of the look, it demands attention and perfection is each process. Teams that were great because one member was the creative and the other the executor of the vision struggled as individuals when the time came.
If the series was a rollercoaster of fashion and emotion, the finale was definitely the pinnacle. The fashion makes you truly swoon, along each episode but particularly in the finale, with no doubts that the two most intrepid and prolific designers are facing off each other. It makes you grin so hard your cheeks hurt and then overwhelm you with joy as the winning designer is revealed. The only drawback to this series is that it ends!
The winner not only receives a whopping $250,000 dollars as their prize but also lands a detail with luxury retailers Net-a-Porter for their collection. The winning designer’s clothes are already stocked on the website (we checked) but there’s a waitlist if you’re looking to acquire one of the pieces.
We can’t wait for the next season of Next in Fashion and the talent they will champion.