Gary Graham Addresses His Shocking Making The Cut Loss

by Eddie Roche
Gary Graham

Warning! Making The Cut spoilers ahead! Devoted Making The Cut viewers are still in shock that the season two frontrunner, Gary Graham, didn’t end up the show’s winner and $1 million richer after Andrea Pritter was crowned the winner. Last week we got on a Zoom to chat with a disappointed Graham to discuss what went wrong. 

I’m sad you didn’t win! 
Right out the gate! At the time, I was so happy to be in all of the episodes. There was always a part of me that thought I was on a TV show and part of the ensemble. I was so happy to make it in that respect.

What was going through your mind when you thought you were going home on the episode before the finale?
To be completely honest, there was a sense of relief. I’m done! I went all the way. I did everything I could. I was really disappointed in that episode and everything about it. It was so loaded for me. We were given the concept store in quarantine so I did a three dimensional mockup. I was working on it really hard and it kind of fell flat.  I felt disappointment. I didn’t want to be the guy going home, but there was a strange sense of relief.

You seemed very stressed and emotional in the final two episodes. Were you tired?
I was definitely tired. We weren’t really eating. We were fed but you don’t have time to eat! The hard part is that I’ve been disappointed and living with that since we stopped filming. It’s been really difficult for me. I’ve been really neurotic and OCD. I’ve been redesigning everything in my head. I’m hoping there will be some closure once it airs. I don’t really know what happened to me. I just kind of lost it.

You still came out of the show a winner! Jennifer Hudson didn’t win American Idol!
Thank you. Back to episode 7, with all respect to everyone, there were a lot of big ideas that I was trying to do simultaneously. I was obsessed with having a dressing room and maybe I should have been more obsessed with having more clothes in the store. There were a lot of things that came to play in my defense. It was a lot. I still believe in what I did. From day one to day now, I still have the same goal and it’s very clear.

Making The Cut

You got up on the table and danced when you found out you were staying in the competition. What was that about?
I felt like I had to do something and show gratefulness. I had to do something crazy and break the ice. I don’t mean the ice in the room but I mean the ice within me. Sometimes you just have to do something crazy where your heart is racing. I do have a performance art background a little bit. Sometimes you just can’t say it. You have to dance it.

Jeremy Scott really loves your work. He was such a champion in the final episodes. Did you have opportunities to talk with him more than we see?
No. There were a lot of restrictions with COVID. We kept a distance from each other. There wasn’t really any off-camera opportunity to talk. It really was all on camera. But I felt it. It’s a mixed feeling of really happy that he’s rooting for me and then on the other hand I think what did I do so bad? It’s like a crazy date gone wrong that you live through over and over. Hopefully I can move on.

Will you show at New York Fashion Week? What’s your plan for staying in the game?
My next step is to continue my relationship with Amazon and build my in-house production team. When I closed my company, it was me making ten things a month in order to meet my overhead. I’ve gone from that to tripling my sales. It’s me and my one super assistant. My goal is to scale with Amazon and build  my team here. I also want to pursue my narrow driven shopping network. I want to start with Amazon Live. I think it’s a a great vehicle. I have ambitions of speaking directly to the customers.

Robin Roberts wore you on GMA last week! 
That was amazing! She has that masterclass and she talks about a quote from her mom that your mess is your message. I’ve been living with that since I did the show and to see her wearing the dress and talking about Simone Biles, it was all of these things connecting and all of these things that I couldn’t have imagined.

 

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46 comments

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Karen Christians August 9, 2021 - 7:27 PM

Hands down Gary should have won. He is a true artist and a visionary. I hope he keeps making and inventing. We need the Gary’s in this world to pull the essence of nostalgia and create something revelatory. Sometimes you need to own the cliff.

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Teree Settembrino August 10, 2021 - 8:43 PM

I agree, Gary you stole the show!!!, I always fast forwarded to see your beauty and talent.
I hope continued success for you. you are of rare design!!!

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Beverly Vannatter August 9, 2021 - 8:27 PM

I think Heidi needs to look at what people actually wear and not the first shiny thing walking the catwalk. I loved Gary’s fabrics and vision and I loved Johnny Cota’s style. Frankly I don’t have any place to wear the other 2 competitor’s goods. Sequins, silky satin, tight fitting, and crop tops are ‘gimicky’ ways to get people to buy. Frankly I thought most of it would be purchased by hookers. Heidi, maybe you have a taste issue. Can we please get back to the art of building clothing? thanks.

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Jim August 20, 2021 - 10:31 PM

I completely agree with you. I’m in my 70’s and love the show. Probably not the typical viewer, but your comments are well thought out and I wish Heidi and Tim could see them.

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Jacqueline Jackson September 19, 2021 - 8:49 AM

Hear hear!

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Jacque howard August 10, 2021 - 10:55 PM

Gary was the best “clothing designer”. He’s vision is novel and revelatory. His fittings on the female body are perfection. The other designers seemed to “throw” fabric and gimmicks on the models to see what sticks. His fabric design creations are innovative and of a world many creative people would gravitate to: anything but cookie cutter. Jeremy fought so hard for him because he is a designer and recognized a fellow visionary. Tim couldn’t say anything but I believe he would’ve voted for Gary too, recognizing the artistry and novelty of his clothes. Heidi Klum is a beautiful model, as was the other beautiful woman and judge but at bottom they are not designers or artists. A darned shame Gary didn’t get his due. Not the first time Heidi has voted for the shiny object in the room. Get more designers as judges then the show will be about fashion, global or otherwise.

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Morgan August 31, 2021 - 7:48 PM

I agree. It’s about Design isn’t it? Or is it about what sells? What women want on Amazon? I don’t get it … I agree. The only judge who made sense to me was the designer Jeremy – because he was talking about vision and design, and what will be a global brand. I could not see the other two designers’ clothes being ‘new’ concepts on a global scale.
I loved Gary’s who ‘DNA’ as they kept talking about it – his vision, his story, his approach, his technique, and how he stuck to his taste – and it wasn’t trashy. Sequins? I mean, c’mon. So what if that looks flashy on a runway. And undergarments that you flash to reveal. So what.
Maybe models love that because they can relate to an AHA moment, but designers – like how is a bra and undies design savvy? I just don’t get it.
Gary’s designs were so thought out. The winner could pin and sew outfits super fast, and just threw them up there. I mean, it was impressive – for sure – but even her store didn’t seem like a store, they all said so.
Gary won the most challenges, had the most unique ‘brand’ and vision, and it was new. Fresh. A designer.

I think they made a real mistake. I think they should have two designers as judges, not two models and one designer. Or have Tim weigh in more.

I thought this was such a lame decision.

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Kathy baker September 12, 2021 - 3:35 PM

I’m unhappy that Gary lost the competition. However, he’s won the hearts of those who really understand design, vision, quality and innovation. All of which Mr Graham amply displayed time and again winning most of the challenges.

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Susan August 11, 2021 - 6:14 PM

Gary blew me away evey week with his style and substance. His pieces will remain part of your wardrobe likr Coco. The other two were disco flashy….here today….forgotten tomorrow. You got it wrong this time, Heidi. So disappointed.

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Rodger Young August 11, 2021 - 7:04 PM

That is the BEST Designer ever featured on these types of shows n Gary Graham lost out to glitz n glam. A real tragedy, where’s the designer world, are they afraid of what GG422 can do! Most disappointing!!!
PS. Reminds me of the Disco 💃 Era

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Rodger Young August 11, 2021 - 8:27 PM

The designer didn’t Win da fashionista did.

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Rodger Young August 11, 2021 - 8:30 PM

I’m ashamed of Tim Gun – he knew but didn’t say. Models won designer lost. 🙁

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J.W August 12, 2021 - 2:02 AM

Gary’s clothes made an emotional impact on me I’ll never forget. I am grateful to Jeremy, who fought so passionately for him… since the rest of us could not. Definitely didn’t feel the judging panel was balanced.

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Tria September 2, 2021 - 8:30 PM

I concur. His designs resonated at an emotional level and are physically beautiful. Well thought out and executed. The lines of his dresses, the knit wear, the FABRIC, the Levi’s challenge jacket and carnival dress, oh my!!
Shiny things picking more shiny things. Yawn.

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KT August 12, 2021 - 6:13 AM

The designer who won is talented and could make pretty things. Pretty things that you see everyday when you go to the mall or hit the evening wear section of a department store. Gary is in a whole different league. He is a visionary. His unique vision and talent is the stuff that pushes fashion beyond trendy, disposable clothing into the realm of forever pieces. Clothes that you want to buy, keep, pass down and collect. Heidi and Winnie were just dead wrong. It was an embarrassment.

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Holly D Hesse September 22, 2021 - 9:04 AM

Very disappointed Gary didn’t win. He was the visionary and artist with a message.. shiny clothes are not for the World! Real clothes are.. keep going Gary.

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Jeffrey Todd Ray August 12, 2021 - 11:04 AM

Gary was by far the best. The most innovative and deep designs by far. Good for Jeremey to cut through to the core of truth. It was so heartbreaking and seemed so unfair that Gary lost.

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Shan Hu August 12, 2021 - 3:31 PM

reason why there is bad public art..terrible judges. Cut 3 need to increase the number of judges and include real designers or even stylists…and less models. (good luck gary! i loved your work back when i saw it in your shop in tribeca. i was so sad to see it close)

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carrie August 12, 2021 - 7:59 PM

Gary’s work was really much better than the other designers on the show. So sad I would rather have classic long-lasting pieces and something that’s just gonna sit in the closet or be trendy

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DK August 28, 2021 - 4:20 PM

Gary was the true artist and obvious winner! What a shame, sequins won over artistry. Disappointed. Continue your vision, Gary! You are amazing!!

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Don Colen Conley August 13, 2021 - 12:05 AM

Gary was the true artist among the final three. If Tim Gunn were the judge instead of Heidi, we would be celebrating Gary’s win. I see the house of Balenciaga in Gary’s future. Originality in the clothing business
is rare — poetry is rarer still.

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TG Brown August 13, 2021 - 4:45 AM

Every week the judges asked the designers to bring something unique and fashion forward, they wanted to see how creative they could be and what risks they were prepared to take for their vision. Every week Gary did this – the texturing and pattern design of his clothes were close to perfection and his print designs were amazing. On top of that he showed how innovative he was yet still commercial with his Levi collaboration denim jacket. The judges on the other hand failed to live up to their own expectations and were too scared to take a risk – I have nothing negative to say about either of the other two finalists, they worked extremely hard, stuck to their vision and produced great collections for their market clientele. They were not however innovative or fashion forward, Gary on the other hand has the potential to make a lasting impact on how the fashion industry pivots to the demands of the future – it is impossible to continue the fast fashion waste of today, ethics aside it is just not sustainable. I hope Gary realises that he didn’t fail here – the failure is on the judges, they just weren’t brave enough to put the prize money where their mouth was. I really don’t understand why not as his creativity was broad and could easily be harnessed for collaborations, I can’t say I know that many people who wear sequins……..

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Sondra August 14, 2021 - 10:28 PM

I agree that Gary should have won, based on his amazing choice of fabrics and his creative and forward-thinking interpretations. How could he not have won? Is it because his oral presentation was not as enthusiastic as his competitors? Or that his store (whom some sadly regarded as “too celebral,”) did not wow the judges? I would have appreciated knowing more about what factors were considered in the final decision. As for the show’s hosts, I agree that based on body language Tim seemed to favor Gary. Heidi, on the other hand, didn’t even take time to read Gary’s video in his store presentation; she, to me, appears superficial and closed.

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Sabrina August 14, 2021 - 10:49 PM

Gary’s designs touch the heart and the mind! He is an artist with depth, creativity and enough bravery to show us who he really is. You are a winner in my book Gary! I look forward to seeing your vision for the future of fashion.

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Robin Montague August 15, 2021 - 12:43 AM

Plus Gary was one of the nicest people I have ever seen on a reality show ever. His friendship with and assistance to the other designers was pure and special. Basically Gary seemed to me, to be a good guy, with exceptional Talent, Vision and Experience.

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Judy Stein August 15, 2021 - 4:01 PM

Gary has such a good heart and his soul is in his designs. In many ways he was my favorite designer and even though all the designers were awesome, Gary had my vote from the very beginning. And thank you Jeremy for seeing the depth of his vision and talent and giving Gary your final vote.
Gary’s success as a designer will increase. Good luck to all of the designers who competed.

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Catherine August 16, 2021 - 5:07 PM

I thought the point of the show was to find an amazing designer. Heidi and Winnie went safe. Andrea is good but Gary is great.

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Wendy August 18, 2021 - 3:26 PM

It was a travesty that the only original designer, the fabulous Gary, didn’t win! No serious woman person wears sequins, crop tops, or trashy disco/hooker wear. The two Andreas were fine people with a great work ethic, but the judges were awful. Heidi can host well, but she shouldn’t judge. More designers, fewer models!

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Debbie naclerio August 19, 2021 - 3:32 PM

I agree the two women’s lines looked like something hookers would wear. No real women dress like that. I think Gary was innnovative and his clothes are beautiful. Unfortunately, you could see he lost Heidi with that “Little House on the Prairie” statement. He needs to learn how to read an audience and “play the game”. I hope someone comes along and backs him.

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Mary Jo August 19, 2021 - 5:21 PM

I wish Gary would nor be so hard on himself–he is brilluant and exquisite and poetic and I hope somehow the gods of fashion recognise this and give him the respect and the financial support he so deserves

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Kim August 22, 2021 - 2:08 AM

Very sad to see bling wins again. Please can we have something that is true art and fashion forward. I am so tired of animal print, crop tops and the same jacket one thousand times over…. Yes-get some artists and fashion designers as judges so we can see something interesting and new! Keep creating Gary-there are many more of us looking for a new fashion that can include unique pieces of art that we can wear!

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Stella Z. August 23, 2021 - 9:00 AM

I just finished the series and I worked for decades in the high end fashion industry in NYC. There is NO WAY Gary wouldn’t have won if this show was based in NYC. The taste level in Hollywood is all Vegas, flashy and appalling. I’m quite sure Tim Gunn was slowly dying inside when the winner was announced. Don’t get me wrong. I love Andrea as a person and she is hugely talented as a bridal designer and overall designer. The other Andrea? Well, I would be buying and wearing all of her previous showings. She is fabulous. But Gary was the innovator and the artist through and through. He always stayed true to his POV. The others needed constant adapting in order to proceed and I didn’t recognize Andrea’s POV at all at the end. It was like she gave birth to Colombian Andrea and Gary’s child, glitter with prints. Here we go again with the woke world. The “winner” must show a curvy woman of color in her undies and dare anyone opposed to steal the trophy away. Sorry, Gary. You are the master artist and you were robbed.

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Barbara August 30, 2021 - 11:53 PM

My thoughts exactly…curvy woman of color in her undies….not a winner . Only one true designer and that was Gary. What Heidi would wear is not what the majority of women would wear. I knew from the beginning of this season that Andrea would be chosen as the winner…sad

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Karla August 25, 2021 - 6:00 AM

I can’t believe that Gary didn’t win. He is a magnificent artist, a true visionary and an inspiration. He is capable of making you feel emotions through fabrics. Seeing his clothes is an experience. He is a genius and will make history. I am in my 30s, I love fashion and I am the average female (latin) customer. When I saw Gary’s designs I didn’t hesitate to buy his clothes, so saying that he was stuck in the past or he won’t sell is wrong. I know he will make it far but I am truly disappointed in the results of the show, the judges’ criteria and kind of lost some respect for the industry they are trying to sell. A part of me felt the decision was a forced way to show inclusivity, gender equality, etc. but along the way, the essence of the art of design got lost.

Gary, if you ever get to read this, I am thankful for you in this world and for you going through the show as it was the means to getting to know you. You are ahead of your time, like Van Gogh or Bach. Don’t let this stop you, rather use it to inspire you. Now you have one more fan. Love from Denmark.

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Mrs. Solomon August 25, 2021 - 11:43 AM

I LOVE Gary’s clothes and 100% thought he should have won! I EMPHASIZE with Gary in that I lost on a reality show to someone less talented than me. Just like Gary, it was a case of “the Emperor’s new….” with flash or trendy outweighing talent. I lost on Guys Grocery Games in Tournament of Champions to a guy (Philip, he went on to be as hated by other chefs on Top Chef) that had 1/4 the experience and talent I have. He won bc he talks a better “game” and made dishes that were so esoteric and he used made-up culinary terms to hide his lack of talent. One judge on my show even said “I do not know if I just am not an experienced Chef…this food is going over my head. Im not sure what this is supposed to be let alone what it SHOULD taste like.” They cut this out.
Just like Gary, I replayed out what happened 100x in my head. I bet there was some good footage about him and his clothes that got edited so that ppl think he “deserved” to lose. I know this was the case for me.
Ppl have to remember that Hollywood RARELY “asks” ppl to use their brains. They make everything “for dummies.” Things that are “original,” EASY to understand, and “out of the box” AND look good on camera win every time over substance!!
A few ideas about why and or what could have been done differently, even though even IF it was possible, there would probably be the same outcome:
1. Gary seems “on the Spectrum”-Autistic. I say this bc I have 2 kids and a hubby that are all on the Spectrum. I’m pretty sure he has never been diagnosed or was willing to share that with the audience/world but it would have helped him to explain why he has a hard time verbalizing his thoughts.
Reality TV LOVES “labels” and or “boxes” they can put ppl in. If he was front and center with his being a Spectrum person, not only would it show other ppl how far Spectrum ppl can go but how SPECIAL their gifts are. Ppl regard it as a disability when in fact it is a different ability situation. His talent is in part bc of his special atypical brain.
2. Heidi and Winnie are models and therefore a bit shallow and go for the flash in the pan type stuff rather than the substance that Gary has. I agree with other posters here in this regard.
There is a good chance that the models were told by production who they wanted to win and Heidi and Winnie do not have as much power as everyone thinks. Again, Hollywood likes style over substance.
3. Gary did not have his numbers/$ down as well as the other 2 contestants. He might have and they edited it out? It seemed that Andrea had a more solid idea of what she was going to do with the $ and a better presentation.
Again, if he lead with his Spectrum difference, it would have been easier to understand why he wasn’t front and center with a clearer mission and how this would be delegated IRL. Most great artists are not great business ppl. I get that u do need to be both but it is much easier to outsource biz stuff than design/fashion artistic ability.
4. I HATE to say it but am going to anyways…Does anyone think he lost bc he is a white man? Racial tensions are high right now and it just “looks” better to have a black female win over a white male. Just saying.

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Jean August 30, 2021 - 11:57 PM

I believe he lost because it was not politically correct for him to win in today’s world .

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Nancy August 31, 2021 - 8:23 PM

Gary was hands down a better artist than any of the other designers. In fact, he may have been the only artist among them. While others made things that they thought looked good, Gary’s work was inspired. I thought his prints and his shapes were phenomenal. The whole sequin, shiny glamor thing is so trendy. It is not a design. I was SO disappointed. I felt that the whole thing was a write off. They didn’t need the best designer to win, they needed a woman to win.

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Cynthia September 2, 2021 - 6:21 PM

Gary’s designs were so, so lovely–and wearable!
I can’t imagine too many “ordinary” people wearing Andrea’s glitter–I thought lots of her stuff looked cheap.

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Jhk September 2, 2021 - 7:30 PM

I cannot believe Gary didn’t win. Wow! What a disappointment. Not to take away from Andrea but her clothes aren’t hip or fit young people and the two who voted for her a glitzy models, not real people. I just lived his collection. Makes me question this show and the judges.

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Martha Rutherford September 9, 2021 - 9:10 AM

Gary hands down should of won…I dont know how or why anyone else was even a contender..Shame Shame on Heidi Klum…. I loved that show and am now considering not watching it. Gary you are amazing dont ever forget that!

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Chris holland September 18, 2021 - 3:04 AM

Gary, your truth won my heart. Jeremy saw what we all saw; an artist who stretches beyond imagination. A master craftsman of time and place. Thank you for sharing your soul and for reminding us that thoughtfulness counts. I believe you will be here long after the dizzy flash has faded.

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Stacie Benefield September 22, 2021 - 1:38 AM

I was super disappointed, but not necessarily shocked that Gary didn’t win. He has so much more depth and vision that is not typical in the fashion world. I personally thought it was refreshing to see how he was able to combine the past with the future. His designs were incredibly unique and refreshing, while flattering and sophisticated. I loved how he was always researching, sketching and incorporating patterns and historical elements into his fashion concepts. The other contestants talked about how their designs “gave them joy”, amongst other hallow and predictable statements. Though Gary was open to the judge’s insights, he never compromised his true vision or said what he thought they wanted to hear. The finalists lacked substance in comparison. Gary was by far the most creative and will certainly never run out of ideas. In a world that can be shallow and narcissistic, I had hoped that the artist’s genius would for once be rewarded. Once again we have the starving artist. A true artist needs a commissioner, a sponsor, a supporter, for they are not the most business-minded, and it would have been nice to see that here.

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meep October 4, 2021 - 11:04 AM

Gary should’ve won. Heidi’s comment about his clothes being too conservative for the global market was insensitive and ignorant. The global market also includes a significant proportion of people who prefer or need conservative wear, and I thought his solution was beautiful and genius. They were cut so beautifully to flatter the figure without sexualising it. I am personally not a conservative dresser, but I really loved his clothes and textiles. It was beautiful and new.

Sequins and sparkles, we’ve seen it and wore it since the 2000s. In addition, we are already seeing the most influential fashion brands with sequins in their DNA now use hand-embroidered fabrics and appliqué to create custom fabrics. To me, the condition to win with sequin fabrics would’ve been to a) have a silhouette never seen before or b) to be able to push the envelope of custom hand-embroidered fabric [which they obviously do not have time for]. Otherwise, I can just get any of those off of asos or forever 21.

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Cecilia October 24, 2021 - 10:47 PM

I got a degree in fashion design.Alexander Mcqueen is my favorite designer. To me, I totally agreed with what Jeremy Scott said: Gary is a true designer! I actually love so many outfits he created in the show, and I would wear them in daily life, I totally disagreed with other judges said his clothes are historical/out dated, actually he brought the vintage elements into something so cool and modern. His designs touched my heart, it is hard to find a designer like that! This judge system is very unfair to have 2 models and 1 designer, and the majority wins………When I saw Jeremy and Tim(unfortunately he can’t vote)were fighting for Gary, it was so touching and true! but it is unfair to have more professional models than professional designers in the judge panel in this show!

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Cecilia October 24, 2021 - 11:31 PM

Why Jeremy Scott was fighting so hard for Gary, but Gary is just a candidate in the show, is it necessary? I hope those 2 models who holding a vote could think of this question carefully at that time, a successful designer was fighting so hard for a true designer, because designer understand fashion required so much hard work and passion to work on, it is a world’s miss if the funds can’t go to support a real talented true designer. Please don’t put more models or people don’t understand fashion in this show, as designer like us, we just feel so helpless, angry and sad! SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Christine M Simpson November 27, 2021 - 10:26 PM

For all the reasons written about above. Gary was the best! I was very disappointed he didn’t win and so glad that I get to see that there are others who agree with me.
Jeremy knew. And he was pissed!

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