In a move that looks like an attempt to improve on network shows, the streaming giant Netflix has produced its own fashion design show, “Next In Fashion.”
“Next In Fashion” looks an awful lot like “Project Runway,” the design show lately seen on Bravo. But instead of a host and a mentor, “Next In Fashion” offers viewers and contestants the wit and charm of two hosts, Alexa Chung and Tan France. There is more humor built into “Next In Fashion,” but as the series is brand new, it is unclear if that will be enough to win viewers over from “Project Runway.”
“Next In Fashion” vs. “Project Runway”
What reality shows about fashion design have done for viewers is shown them the workspaces of designers, introduced them to the language of the discipline, and proven that even though designers are artistic, they can also be as dramatic as some of their fashions.
One of the most obvious differences between the two shows is the way they are set up. In “Project Runway,” only the mentor talks to contestants consistently. Judges speak to the contestants only on “runway” days, and they are never seen in the contestants’ workspaces. On the other hand, “Next In Fashion” gives everyone a voice, or so it seems. Even the models talk — something that is missing in “Next’s” television counterpart. Literally, on “Project Runway” models seem to be walking mannequins. Except for in rare cases such as when they have had to help sew their own garments, and they disclose the information to judges, models and judges have no interaction on “Project Runway.”
In terms of grand prizes, the money is almost equal, and on “Next” the field of potential winners is whittled down to two, who create collections in the final. The process is also streamlined. On “Project Runway,” contestants go home and work on their collections in their home studios. On “Next” contestants work in the show’s studio. They also select their fabrics and accessories there. In contrast, on “Project Runway” viewers are allowed to see where the contestants live, they hear them deal with the budgets given them by the show, and are privy to the sights of the fabric store, Mood, where the designers get their material.
Viewers do not get those tiny glimpses of the real world on “Next.” Everything is contained in-house, and the only time viewers see the world outside the show is when the hosts perform one of their opening bits.
On “Next In Fashion,” the designers are a little more experienced. Most have designed for A-listers or famous brands. Both shows have a mix of traditionally educated and self-taught designers, but because there are more experienced designers on “Next,” the stakes seem higher than on “Project Runway.”
In some ways, “Next” is more stylish than “Project Runway.” The hosts are clearly meant to function as a comedic duo to break the sometimes tense feelings that build in an episode. Between episodes, Tan and Alexa rush to sit on a plush seat and briefly discuss the episode and to remind viewers to hit the button to watch the next episode.
Whatever points “Next In Fashion” scores, they have learned them from “Project Runway.” Because the shows appear on different media, they might not pose too much direct competition for each. As always, viewers will decide which show holds the most appeal for them. Hopefully, both shows will be around long enough for all audiences to learn what they want about design from each of them.