Season 2 of Amazon Prime Video’s fashion reality competition ‘Making the Cut’ premieres July 16.

The pandemic has changed all of us — even Tim Gunn. "I've done a complete about-face about comfort dressing," the Making the Cut design mentor admits to EW. "I used to say, 'oh, for god's sake. There's nothing worse for fashion.' Now I understand it. Give me an elastic waistband, please!"

Despite his newfound enthusiasm for loungewear, Gunn remains as impeccably dressed as ever throughout season 2 of the Amazon reality competition, on which he also serves as executive producer alongside his fellow Project Runway alum and the show's host, Heidi Klum. The new season of the fashion design competition — the winner of which will receive $1 million, a mentorship with Amazon Fashion, and the chance to create an exclusive line for Amazon — premieres July 16 on Amazon Prime Video, and EW can exclusively reveal the trailer, above.  

Like Gunn himself, Making the Cut evolved over the course of quarantine. "As you know, fashion is a barometric gauge of the society and culture," Gunn says. "We couldn't turn our back on COVID; we would have looked tone-deaf." The show's thrilling aim is to find not just a talented designer but the next great global fashion brand, and the new season acknowledges in some of its assignments, which incorporate branding as well as design, that the contenders are fighting for a chance in an industry in flux.

Making the Cut
Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum on 'Making the Cut'
| Credit: prime video

The team was also obliged to streamline production, but as the producers learned from season 1, "at the end of the day, it's about the designers," Gunn says. "[That] helped buoy us up when we realized that we couldn't possibly travel for this season. We thought, as long as we have these incredibly creative, talented people, we don't have to worry about a thing."

In season 1, which aired last summer (and — SPOILER — crowned Jonny Cota the show's first victor), the competition took the designers from Paris to Tokyo to New York. Season 2 shot entirely in Los Angeles — "a new fashion capitol," as Gunn says — where production was confined to a magnificent ranch in Malibu, which luckily had enough telegenic corners that the weekly fashion shows still feel like they take place in various grand locations. "We were suitably and respectfully paranoid," says Gunn of filming during the pandemic, and there were no outbreaks among the cast or crew. (Production wrapped in October, right before L.A.'s terrible winter.)

But as Gunn himself says, it's about the designers! "Their seriousness and their commitment — I find it to be very moving and very inspiring," he says of this year's accomplished crop of artists. "It makes me feel that the future looks very bright."

The 10 competitors come from all over the world and all have existing labels they want to expand, like season 1's company of hopefuls, but "I felt this group had more polish," says Gunn, who continues his role of delivering "Tim Talks" in the workroom as the contestants toil through each assignment. "No offense to anyone on season 1, especially Esther [Perbandt] and Jonny, but I felt this group was a little more polished and better prepared for what we were doing — of course, they'd seen season 1."

Making the Cut
Jeremy Scott and Winnie Harlow on 'Making the Cut'
| Credit: prime video

They compete every week for the approval of a judging panel comprising Klum, supermodel Winnie Harlow, and fashion designer Jeremy Scott, the latter two of whom are new additions this season. "Winnie is a younger Heidi — forgive me, Heidi, for saying that," says Gunn. "She's walked in tons of fashion shows and knows clothes from so many different points of departure and points of view. And that's always helpful."

Scott, who serves as the creative director of Moschino as well as his namesake label, also brings vital perspective. "With Jeremy, we have a designer who really understands cutting edge, and understands that you can step up and out from plain clothes and do work that's really creative and innovative and very wearable," Gunn explains. "I'm always nervous when we have a designer who's a standing member of the panel, because so many designers just want to tell the designers what they would have done, and basically, who cares? It's not your work. And Jeremy is the antithesis of that. He's really a dream. He's able to channel each individual designer's aesthetic and give them really thoughtful feedback."

One thing that hasn't changed at all since last season is Making the Cut's shoppability: For every assignment, each designer creates both a high fashion "runway" look and a more wearable "accessible" one, and the winning accessible look becomes immediately available for purchase on Amazon when the episode airs. Just in time for a reemergence wardrobe makeover! Because once the world fully reopens, comfort dressing just might no longer make the cut.

Making the Cut
Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, 'Making the Cut'
| Credit: prime video

Check out the trailer above. Season 2 of Making the Cut premieres July 16 on Amazon Prime Video.

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