How ‘Making the Cut’ Finalists Balanced Inspiration and ‘Craziest Thoughts’ on a Budget


‘Making the Cut’ finalists Andrea Pitter, Andrea Salazar and Gary Graham were tasked with creating a concept store – an element that combines art and storytelling with business.

“To be successful in the fashion industry, you have to have the art and the business,” “Making the Cut” creator Sara Rae told TheWrap. “The concept store really allows you to physically enter the world of this designer’s brand”, right down to the signage and the vibrations felt when entering the store.

Hosted by “Project Runway” alum Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, “Making the Cut” brings together established designers to compete for a million dollar prize. Even more than its predecessor, the series facilitates the growth of designer brands by asking applicants to consider the business side of fashion throughout their journey.

Pitter, a New York native and wedding designer who failed to connect with people on the subway, chose to create an interactive subway experience, featuring a golden handrail and a skateboard embossed with her brand name. , “Pantora”.

“It was meant to be a creative store pop-up, and it was meant to be entertaining,” Pitter told TheWrap, “So I didn’t want to do what I usually would in maybe, my bridal store. . But I really wanted to create an interactive experience, an experience where people would want to pull out their phones and take pictures, and I just wanted it to feel like a community.

Using her former bridal clients as inspiration for her ready-to-wear collections, Pitter has woven community into her brand throughout her time on the show, creating a video ad campaign where women stand out. bind around their common love for fashion.

Make the cut
Akiva Griffith

Salazar, who created the avant-garde and sophisticated ‘Seta’ brand, has maintained a similar aesthetic to its other stores, while emphasizing an interactive customer experience by incorporating QR codes, a website and tailored photo ops. to Instagram.

“My concept store was inspired by a fashion museum,” said Salazar. “I tried to follow the same style by having this concept of a museum that you can scan the code for, and then you’re going to have a great experience… I also created a website, so that you can also have an experience in line . “

Make the cut
Akiva Griffith

Graham, a concept artist who takes inspiration from history, took inspiration from a circular barn in Hancock Shaker Village in western Massachusetts to create a circular boutique. Using 250 square feet to complete his vision, Graham planned to create a cyclorama – where images would be projected onto space. While Graham has settled for still images instead of projections, his vision of bringing customers into his brand lives on.

“All of the screenings would be the content that the Gary Graham 422 brand would create,” Graham said. “So whether it’s historical content or one of the print assets, the customer comes in, they see how it all comes into play. And now I feel like an exciting element to work on. with Amazon is now that we have real people chasing the story. “

Make the cut
Akiva Griffith

While building a concept store inspired designers to thoughtfully create a store for consumers, it also challenged them to balance their creativity with a budget.

“It was something that they were also evaluating, the way you manage budgets,” said Salazar. “You have to balance all the resources you have. So of course I had to be very careful in my selections.

Graham, however, had to give up some of his conceptual ideas to fit his budget. “In life and in design you kind of have to negotiate your vanities and what you give up,” he said.

While that budget might be tight for some designers, the security of having a bigger budget allowed Pitter to think bigger than she ever would have.

“You can’t always go with your wildest thoughts,” Pitter said, “You have to go with the thing that is consistent, and you can that can be lasting for you. So this was an opportunity to do that. that I wanted to do, and I ran with it.

The full season of “Making the Cut” is now available on Amazon Prime Video.

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