After a three-year-too-long absence, Netflix has finally released the second season of my personal favorite quarantine comfort show, “Next in Fashion.” The series showcases the talent of an array of fashion designers with experience that ranges from professional training to self-teaching. These contestants have had their work worn by A-list celebrities such as J-Lo, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and more. Despite the recognition these designers seem to have, they participate in this competition for the chance to win $250,000 they can use to both expand their brands and facilitate their everyday lives.
While the first season’s cast still entertained its audience well, the new cast for season two makes the show welcoming and enticing to all audiences. Hosts Tan France and Gigi Hadid have a comical chemistry that makes the show fun to watch. While France already has a reputation more so surrounded by humor, I found it refreshing to see Hadid in a more carefree light. At the same time, the two do not hold back the emotion they feel toward the contestants. They cry when they have to say goodbye to those they grew to love, and offer genuine heart-to-heart conversations with them in order to support their morale. The show also brings a variety of guest judges including Hadid, Jason Bolden, Emma Chamberlain, Donatella Versace and more.
Every episode has a challenge and a theme. Some challenges require the competitors to work in pairs or large teams to create multiple looks, while others require them to create multiple looks entirely on their own. Additionally, the designers could be given any amount of time — from 24 hours to only four — to complete their work before they hit the runway. The different themes require the designers to create articles of clothing regardless of the extent of their experience with each article.
The competition asks competitors to create clothing out of unconventional materials, like live flowers and thrifted pieces. They are also asked to create these looks according to attire genres such as the Met Gala, swimwear and more. At the end of each episode, at least one competitor gets sent home with no chance for redemption.
Throughout the show, the audience learns to fall in love not just with the fashion, but with the designers and their personalities as well. Like most people’s experiences with competition reality television, I found myself yelling at my computer whenever the judges eliminated a contestant I grew very fond of. Following every elimination came an explanation from the judges. Their reasoning could come from any magnitude of mistakes: sometimes the downfall came from a simple mis-stitch, others came from a poor design execution.
To make this show that much better, the designers demonstrated a genuine connection and caring for each other despite the heat of the competition. As the show progressed, a sense of almost mourning over swept the cast whenever another designer faced elimination. While tension between competitors creates a dramatic touch in reality TV that audiences devour, the feeling of unity and compassion between these designers, which has been present in both this season and the last, makes “Next in Fashion” my comfort show.