‘Next In Fashion’ gives new approach to fashion television

Tan France and Alexa Chung judge 18 experienced designers with different backgrounds.

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I grew up watching “Project Runway” with my mom. We sat down every week that we could and cheered for dresses that we could only dream of wearing and mocked looks we were in no position of judging. As the years went by, I’ve had less time to set aside time to watch a simple competition show like this one, and I’ve waited for one that’s easy access and just as entertaining.

Along came “Next In Fashion,” ready and easy to watch on Netflix. Now, it’s not hard to get me to watch anything with Queer Eye’s Tan France in it, but I’m also glad to have been introduced to model and designer Alexa Chung. The hosting duo really works well together in this series–it allows their equally bubbly personalities to play off each other.

The show itself is a lot different from fashion shows I’ve seen in the past. Shows like “Project Runway,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Fashion Show” put design and model hopefuls up against each other for a grand prize at the end. In “Next In Fashion,” there are still designers, challenges and there is still a grand prize, but in this show, the competitors are established, successful designers already in the industry. Contestants have dressed A-list stars like Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, but what they want is to be a household name. Only one of the contestants didn’t have his own brand, but even he has worked for incredibly successful designers.

The fact that all the designers were already at that next level added a whole new feeling of competition to the show that I hadn’t gotten from anything else before. They were able to create amazing pieces in just two days and present them to some of the biggest designers and stylists in the world, including Tommy Hilfiger.

The only aspect of the show that I struggled with was that with such talented and established designers, how can you truly judge them? There were times when the judges’ feedback was critical and clearly necessary, but other times, it really seemed like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel for a reason to send someone home. Also, in fashion, it’s so easy for some to interpret an idea differently than others, so I struggle with the notion of an incredibly talented designer being sent home because their concept didn’t align with what another equally established designer pictured. That designer just happened to be the judge.

Aside from that, this show really let me see the growth that fashion on television has had. We used to only be able to see the hopefuls. This is great, don’t get me wrong. There is so much talent that hasn’t been discovered yet. But, as an 18-year-old college student, I don’t think I would have ever discovered the kind of art being created by these designers if it weren’t for “Next In Fashion.” They are ghost designers and small brands, but some of the most talented people in the industry.

Fashion is not important to everyone. It’s not available to everyone, either. It is an industry very clearly marketed towards the very wealthy. While trends in designs have changed, trends in who buys it don’t seem to very often. I will say, however, things like these that let you see the people behind it offer a new perspective. We may not be able to buy the art in the Louvre, but nobody’s mad at it.

“Next In Fashion” offers a personal background for each designer, showing viewers that some of them do come from unfortunate childhoods and this is how they came to express themselves. Everyone has an outlet, and they have quite a beautiful one.

Edited by George Frey | gfrey@themaneater.com

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