A RESPECTABLE 7.3 on IMDb was enough to convince me to watch season two of Next in Fashion (NIF). Combined with cameos from some of the world’s biggest designers, models, and celebs as guest judges and I was sold.
The season kicks off with presenter Tan France, of Queer Eye fame, announcing that “we are here to find the future of fashion”. The “we” he’s referring to is France himself and new co-host, fashion icon Gigi Hadid. Say no more, Tan, I’m in.
NIF is a colourful pressure cooker of talent, emotion, high stakes, panic, and growth, with each design exploding with vibrancy onto the runway.
The show centres around 12 aspiring designers – a mixed bag of self-taught upstarts and fashion school graduates – from across the US battling it out to stitch their names into the fabrics of the fashion world.
In each episode, hopefuls are handed an assignment, inspired by a multitude of themes and judged by a rotating superstar panel of judges.
In the season opener, the crew are faced with the unnerving task of impressing the one and only Donatella Versace – a big ask by anyone’s standards.
Some of the tasks throughout the season force designers to tap into their own versions of fashion royalty, incorporate elements of nature into their end products, and upcycle thrift store items into runway-ready fits.
The show follows on from its debut season, where Minju Kim was crowned the next big name in fashion and presented with a $250,000 (€233,000) cash prize.
Since then, Kim has gone on to collaborate with H&M Group and launch her MINIJUKIM flagship store in Korea. So, in name-recognition terms at least, the show does have potential to boost the winner’s profile well after the camera stops running.
Without giving anything away, I found myself rooting for Bao Tranchi this year from the get-go.
I had already clocked her on Instagram prior to her appearance on NIF because of her self-titled line and collaborations with the lines of Zendaya, J-Lo, and Kylie Jenner. It was fairly clear she’d been putting in the hard work for years before giving herself the enormous challenge of taking part in the Netflix reality series.
Host Gigi Hadid has previously been spotted sporting items from the Bao Tranchi line, so I was looking for a full-circle moment to get the box of Kleenex out to.
Admittedly, these are firmly runway clothes, not the kind of fare you’d actually purchase or wear on an everyday basis. So it remains to be seen whether the clothing on show in NIF will be spotted passing down O’Connell Street any time soon.
Still, if you’re into fashion, looking to draw some inspiration for a new project, or just love some good old reality TV, this is one for you.