Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn Explain Why They "Jumped Ship" From 'Project Runway' to 'Making the Cut'

The fashion reality competition show premieres March 27, with winning clothing designs sold on Amazon.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn explained why they decided to "jump ship" from Project Runway and create their Amazon show Making the Cut, which debuts March 27.

"Our imagination was bigger than what we were allowed to do," Klum told television press Tuesday in Pasadena. "Everything kind of fell apart." She said the move from Lifetime back to Bravo was either going to mean returning to the "same old same old" or it was an "opportunity to jump ship." She asked Gunn, "Do you want to jump with me?" Klum said, "It was scary.... We shopped it around and thought that Amazon was the best place, not only for the show but also for the designers."

Gunn hinted that executives at Project Runway were afraid of changing the format of the fashion reality show, even at the urging of Klum and Gunn. "We couldn’t break out of it because there was a fear — not among us, we’re the ones who were thinking creatively and innovatively about what we wanted to do."

The two return to the genre as executive producers and hosts of Making the Cut on Amazon, with two episodes airing weekly for five weeks. The unscripted show tracks 12 entrepreneurs and designers vying to become "the next big global phenomenon" for a $1 million prize to invest in their style business.

Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Altuzarra creative director Joseph Altuzarra, Vogue Paris Editor in Chief Carine Roitfeld and influencer Chiara Ferragni will appear as judges on the program, which filmed in New York, Paris and Tokyo. Amazon noted that 50 percent of the main crew was women.

Fans will be able to buy winning fashion pieces from Making the Cut on Amazon immediately after each episode, though sales won't affect how Amazon measures the show's success. Pieces will sell for $100 or less in sizes XXXS to XXXL.

"For the first time, our audience can shop. So it’s great; it’s a win-win," Klum said, calling Making the Cut "such a better show." The team claimed that the sellability of the pieces on Amazon did not affect the designs or the winners. Klum explained that for each runway show, the designers created one look where they could "go for it" and one look that was "really wearable" for Amazon shoppers. Gunn added that the team didn't "dumb these clothes down" but instead "translated" them in such a way that "they become affordable" for Amazon shoppers.

When asked about inclusive body representation on the show, Gunn said it's seamless with plus-size models: "It’s the real world. It’s fully integrated into Making the Cut, as it’s fully integrated into a good deal of the fashion industry because it’s the way things should be." Klum suggested body acceptance has already made a lot of progress in fashion, saying, "For us, it’s not really a thing anymore."

They said Amazon's large budget gave them greater creative freedom than on Project Runway, though they acknowledged the latter paved the way. "Project Runway is the undergraduate program and Making the Cut is the graduate and PhD program," Gunn said.

Gunn and Klum announced in September 2018 that they were leaving Project Runway after 16 seasons together. Model Karlie Kloss, designer Christian Siriano, designer Brandon Maxwell and editor Elaine Welteroth joined the retooled Bravo series, which premiered in 2019.

Making the Cut is produced by Amazon Studios and SKR Productions. In addition to Gunn and Klum, producers include Sara Rea, Page Feldman and Jennifer Love.