Making the Cut E7: No One Wants A Skingraft

The marketing campaign for a brand can be just as important in selling the clothes as the clothes themselves. Just ask Calvin Klein underwear. Can you feel it baby? I can, too.

For the next Making the Cut challenge, Tim and Heidi acknowledge the evolving consumer landscape, that buyers want an experience, to be a part of the brand they are buying from.

As someone whose day job is in the packaging universe, I can tell you this could not be more true. The consumer wants to engage with a brand in every channel, the analog and the digital. Good marketing is omni-channel. Print, web, social. And when everyone with a smartphone thinks they are a graphic designer, the aesthetics of your campaign better stand out.

The designers are sent off in the rain to the Edo-Tokyo Architecture Museum to find inspiration and scout locations for their photo shoots. The museum is an open-air, outdoor museum of historic Japanese buildings. It’s like the Chicago Art Institute miniature rooms come to life. It’s immersive and hella cool.

Designers will be judged not only for their clothes but for their creative director and design skills, seen in the three photographs they will choose to represent their collection. Please, no Helvetica.


Esther DX

Inspired by the wings of a mosquito that hung out — died? — in her work space, Esther pulls an Amy Winehouse and goes back to black, playing with textures, fabric, and androgyny. For her backdrop, Esther picks an old cigarette stand, which already has a built-in cool factor. Smoking looks good on screen. It just does.

Her plunging heart-surgery top with a racer-back would sell aplenty, especially if she did a co-promotion with NuBra. And who doesn’t want a vinyl peplum? I’ll wear this outfit to the street fight I scheduled right before that cocktail party at the Clover Club.


Sander DX

Each week, I cannot wait to see what Sander makes, and he did not disappoint in this challenge. For his campaign, he picked an art store, as he consider his own work to be wearable, conceptual art. I’d like to believe the Japanese calligraphy brushes hanging in the art store inspired the ruffles on his cream dress.

Sander’s collection mixes modern lines with romantic silhouettes. His color palette feels very “now,” as well as his choice to have the models swap coats in his runway show, which speak to gender fluidity. Great idea, Tim Gunn!

Ji Won

Ji Won DX

Ji Won was doomed in this challenge by one thing: wanting to satisfy Naomi’s request to see her try evening wear. She makes a dress, but it doesn’t feel like it fits in her brand. She gets so focused on making the dress and justifying it in her mind, that she doesn’t spend enough time on the second look and makes the worst pair of pants we have seen this season.

I do love the way Ji Won incorporates her logo on the side of the yellow street car, like it’s always been there.

But oof, those pants. I can’t look away. They highlight the tummy pooch, and the legs are strangling the model’s thighs and invading the crotch. The second she sits down, her labia is gonna yell, “Da fuq!” An elastic band can’t save the ill-fitting waist, and Ji uses the tired reasoning that it’s hard to fit a plus-sized model.

Ji Won does not make the cut, but Joseph reminds her that this is only the end of a competition and a reminder from Naomi that she is a baby, only 26.

And this is a good reminder for myself and every one reading this: If the pants don’t fit your body, the problem belongs to the pants.


Megan DX

Megan has my favorite looks in E7. I live for an off-the-shoulder top that can showcase the collarbone, the part of the body that seems so delicate while still being solid bone. It’s editorial and high-fashion, with masculine leather leggings underneath the feminine swirl of black fabric.

And that kimono suit — inspired by the women Megan sees around Tokyo in traditional dress — is beautiful. The indigo fabric Megan chooses is also a wonderful homage to where she is at the moment. Find inspiration where you are! Put that in a swirly font and add it to your Insta.


Jonny DX

Heidi finally brought up the elephant in the room: the name of Jonny’s brand, Skingraft. It’s a very bad name. I get why he choose it in his younger days, being a leather-based brand, but it’s awful and time to abandon it, which to Jonny’s credit, he is trying to do. The judges encourage him to use his own name. Your name is Jonny Cota! It’s not Jonny Ingrown Toenail.

Jonny’s collection is meh for me. His jumpsuit is feels like a Gucci knock-off with clinical depression, and the tan, leather knee and elbow pads are too “Home Depot.” Jonny did make a smart move by tea/coffee dying the print for his dress at the very last minute, to give it more of an edge. He can try this on a whole slew of fabrics and call it the Cafe Bustelo collection.

The judges let Jonny and Megan fight it out for who will be winner, eventually settling on Jonny because he argues that he adhered more to the campaign part of the challenge with better pictures. It’s a bittersweet win for him as his sweet parents and husband are in L.A. launching his new store — Cota by Skingraft — while Jonny is furthering his career in Tokyo. Let’s hope that by the time Jonny gets home, they will have scraped the Skingraft lettering off the store windows.

What was Naomi Campbell up this week?

Naomi DX

You know what Naomi was up to this week? Not freezing her ass of in the rain, like Chiara the Blonde Salad, who insisted on showing skin while everyone else is chic and covered up in the downpour.

I could almost hear Naomi snort when Tim introduced Chiara as “the most powerful fashion influencer in the world.”

Naomi was verbose this week, being honest about why Megan’s campaign didn’t show off her clothes like it should have, while still being positive about the clothes themselves and backing Naomi up in telling Jonny to change his brand’s name.

Listen to us. We know a little bit. I suggest you change that name. I think you should think about.

When Naomi tells you to think about, you think about. And then you do exactly as she says.

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