After weeks of intense competition, runway shows in Tokyo, Paris, New York, and the much-anticipated reunion of Project Runway alums Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, Season 1 of Making the Cut came to an end on April 25. The ambitious fashion series included a cast of 12 established designers, who upon winning challenges, could feature and sell their designs on the show's Amazon store.
While the weekly prize was enticing enough, the winning package included a $1 million design deal with Amazon for an exclusive collection. Though all of the designers on the season were immensely talented, only one was crowned the winner.
Who won Making the Cut Season 1? Read on to find out who inked an exclusive deal with Amazon, and why fans are wildly upset at the end result. Warning: Spoilers are coming.
Who won 'Making the Cut'? Spoilers ahead.
After the penultimate Pop Up shop challenge in the ninth episode, Sander Bos was shockingly eliminated. He had listened to the judges about going more commercial with his designs, but they still weren't fully confident in his brand in the end.
Fan favorite Esther Perbandt — who won the first ever challenge on the show, but who was criticized for almost always creating all-black designs — made the finale. Former circus performer Jonny Cota was also given a coveted spot in the finale.
The designers headed to New York to present their brand pitches to Christine Beauchamp, the president of Amazon Fashion.
During her pitch meeting, Esther explained that her brand, Esther Perbandt 2.0, would eventually introduce color into collections, but that it would primarily consist of black, white, and gray clothing. She also noted that she had learned how to properly put together a business model because she had a financial failure with her initial business in 2008.
"I cannot stand in front of her talking about color with love and passion. I mean, that would really be inauthentic," Esther explained in her confessional.
When Jonny presented, he focused on sustainable fashion, his presence with small family-run businesses in Bali, and the importance of digital growth.
"I need this million dollar investment to make it into the global, sought-after brand I know it can be," Jonny said to Christine.
Following their pitch meeting, the remaining two designers were tasked with putting on a final fashion show. Though explaining their brands to Christine was crucial in the process, the winner would be chosen by the judges, Joseph Altuzarra, Chiara Ferragni, Nicole Richie, Naomi Campbell, and Heidi after the fashion show.
When it came time for the judges to vote, Naomi and Heidi voted for Esther to win. Nicole, Joseph, and Chiara voted for Jonny's collection to go forward, which made him the first winner of Next in Fashion.
The show wrapped filming in August of 2019, so Jonny's collection is now fully available for purchase on Amazon.
While even Esther herself was thrilled for Jonny, fans were upset at the fact that fan favorite Esther fell short of the $1 million prize.
Many viewers felt that Esther should have won 'Making the Cut.'
Though Esther became a frontrunner immediately after winning the first two design challenges on Making the Cut, by the end of the season, she and Jonny were tied at three for challenge wins. With the reveal that Jonny was the winner, there were many upset viewers who expressed their frustrations on social media.
Some claimed that Jonny's plan to use cheaper labor in Bali was exploitation, and that Amazon was more focused on getting a higher profit margin.
Many viewers also felt that it was cheap that Esther's main critique was that all of her looks lacked color, when that was always her brand from the beginning. Esther also had a tendency to re-sew her looks when the seamstress didn't follow her vision, while Jonny was open about not being a good sewer.
One main critique from the finale was that Jonny was picked as the winner because his looks were mainstream, while Esther had a more avant garde style.
While some viewers weren't happy with the end result, Esther expressed her appreciation for fans following the finale.
"I am so, so overwhelmed with all of your feedback," Esther said on her Instagram stories on April 26.
Making the Cut Season 1 is available to stream on Amazon Prime. You can buy clothes from Jonny Cota's winning collection here.