Fashion Space

‘Next in Fashion’ Denotes Netflix’s Bright Entrance to the Fashion Design Competition

Glossy, cheerful and vivid, Netflix’s “Next in Fashion” — appearing Jan. 29 — is one of two new participants to the broadcast fashion design competition field this year. The 10-episode series, hosted by “Queer Eye’s” Tan France and presenter and designer Alexa Chung, additionally denotes Netflix’s first venture into a category that for quite a long time has been dominated by “Project Runway.”

“Fashion is appealing and relatable, and so it made sense for us to get into that space considering our viewers around the world,” Netflix vice president of unscripted originals and comedy specials Brandon Riegg told Variety. “It is also an opportunity to gauge the fashion enthusiasm of fans and showcase some amazing talent and stories [from designers], the struggles and the victories, and help them elevate their brand to the next level through the show.”

For some odd reason France, known for being the Fab Five’s fashion guru, has since quite a while ago wanted to do a fashion competition show. What’s more, for reasons unknown he got himself RSVPing “yes” to one of Victoria Beckham’s parties in London almost a year prior, after finding that Chung would be there.

“I was obsessed with Alexa for a very, very long time,” he said. “She was on a lot of TV in the U.K. when I was 19, 20… But we never met.”

She shouted when she saw him, remembering him from “Queer Eye.” He conversed with her about a new fashion competition show he had joined to have. She, “a little tipsy,” said France, would not exactly recall the total of their discussion there, however, would in the following days’ agree to co-host and judge “Next in Fashion” with him. Even though they just got together again, for lunch, before leaving on the series together, France and Chung have the on-screen chemistry of a couple of old companions.

“Next in Fashion” highlights 18 seasoned designers who for the most part originate from pedigreed fashion schools and self-made businesses. At first, entrusted with working in groups of two, the group is before long trimmed down and the designers, at last, contend solo. It is a global bundle, from the Italy-based Angelo Cruciani to the U.K.- based Claire Davis to the Pakistani-American designer Isaac Saqib.

“One of the core tenets of our approach to programming is having diversity, and diversity comes in lots of different forms; we are a global platform,” said Riegg. “But it came to finding great characters with a great story, and who are credible in the fashion space. And that was a big driver in terms of the casting. It just happened that we looked everywhere in looking for those qualities in the contestants and it allowed us to have more of a global group of contestants for this series in particular.”

“Project Runway,” presently in its 18th season and back on its birth network at Bravo, has since quite a while ago highlighted less experienced designers and let the interpersonal drama fly.

France, while clarifying that he is an aficionado of “Project Runway,” says “Next in Fashion” is a different show. The series features mid-career designers like China-based Angel Chen, no stranger to mainstream achievement, whose clothing is sold in Selfridges, Lane Crawford, and different stores. Its judges incorporate huge name designers, for example, Tommy Hilfiger, Phillip Lim, and Public School’s Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow.

“That’s a major point of difference, and I think that shows in our runway [shows],” said France. “Our runway, is in my opinion, the best you’ll see in a fashion competition show.”

“Next in Fashion” is likewise a lot cheerier reality series, prior cattiness for can-do positivity.

“I made it very clear, before I signed, that I would never get involved with a mean show,” he said. “That’s not my vibe at all. That would go completely against what I do on ‘Queer Eye’ and what we work so hard for on ‘Queer Eye.’ You can have great entertainment without taking the very easy route of knocking people down and just being mean. So at every turn, Alexa and I [stayed positive]. You can critique a look without being nasty.”

Like its inevitable companion “Making the Cut” — which hails from streaming rival Amazon — Netflix’s fashion design reality series offers contenders an opportunity to discover commercial accomplishment past the show, through a partnership with a well-known e-commerce site. For Amazon’s case, that site is, obviously, Amazon. Netflix, in the interim, has dangled Net-a-Porter before its designers, offering them an opportunity to sell a collection on the site.

“I’m a former designer and retailer, and getting into a retail store or major online retailer was a massive opportunity,” France told Variety. “It took me three and a half years to get to that point and a lot of struggling to make that happen. And so for them to get that from the show is wonderful. Also, with the global streaming service that we’re on – they are going to have, hopefully, a lot of eyes on them.”

There’s additionally $250,000 in prize cash, key funding for any independent designer attempting to make it in a market overflowed by quick fashion and vicious competition.

“If you don’t have major financial backing from these major fashion houses on a site like Net-a-Porter, you’re not going to get on, you’re not going to get seen,” said France.

Netflix’s Riegg, then again, sees the presentation offered by the show and the streamer itself to be the “real win.”

“The Net-a-Porter [partnership] and money at the end is a nice touch to add and recognize the winner of the competition,” he said, “but competing itself in the show on our platform is such a huge coup for them as they try to grow their own business and expand their brand.”

While he wouldn’t comment on the possibility of a Season 2, Riegg explained on his ethos in unscripted, including that he first arrived at Netflix to a “blank slate,” and is extremely just two years into the rollout of his overall strategy.

“This competition shows — they’re bigger, larger undertakings, so what we’re seeing now is that they’re finally rolling out on the service, even though it was always an angle from the start,” said Riegg. “Some of the doc series is quicker turnarounds and we’ve been able to get those up a little bit faster. But this was always part of the plan.”