‘Making The Cut’ Season 2 Winner Andrea Pitter Is Prioritizing Inclusion & Joy In Fashion
“I always wanted to create safe spaces, and spaces filled with joy.”
When Andrea Pitter’s model first set her foot on the runway during the premiere of Making the Cut’s second season, one of the show’s judges, Heidi Klum, was quick to remark that she “[had] a good feeling about this.” Pitter’s model wore a flouncy, feathered two-piece look, and the experimental ensemble set the tone for the veteran bridal designer’s arc throughout the show. Ultimately, Klum’s positive fashion instincts were correct. After a season-long battle of showcasing her runway creations — spoiler alert! — Pitter was the Season 2 winner of Making the Cut.
The second season of Amazon Prime’s fashion competition was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning all 10 contestants, three judges, and host Tim Gunn lived within a quarantined bubble in Los Angeles. However, despite the pandemic-induced constraints, Season 2 was just as high stakes and packed with star quality as the first season. Every week, the designers competed in challenges to deliver well-conceptualized garments that represented their finely-tuned brand’s perspective and proved to the judges they deserve to, as the show’s title reads, make the cut. Particular standout assignments include designing two avant-garde looks that fit with episode five’s carnival theme, as well as a bridal challenge that helped Pitter clinch an early-on reputation as a front runner.
The show culminated with the top three finalists — Gary Graham, Andrea Salazar, and, of course, Pitter — pitching their business plans to the President of Amazon Fashion, Christine Beauchamp. Afterward, the three presented their 10-piece collections in a series of opulent runway shows, with Pitter’s being a celebration of joyful party outfits that doubly served as a catalog of her growth throughout the season. Ultimately, Pitter’s showing from her brand, Pantora, was the favorite with judges Klum and Winnie Harlow. This earned her the majority needed to win the competition’s million-dollar grand prize and Amazon Fashion mentorship. With her triumphant first place slot, the Brooklyn native also won the opportunity to sell her clothing line in a three-year pop-up shop at ROW DTLA and on Amazon Fashion, which is available now on amazon.com.
Looks from Pitter's finale collection on Making the Cut Season 2.
TZR caught up with Pitter over Zoom to chat about how she successfully tapped into her bridal background on Making the Cut while simultaneously showcasing her range as a ready-to-wear designer with a uniquely fresh and inclusive lens. Below, Pitter dishes on everything, including her favorite Pantora piece (she loves the sequin blazers), the bridal fashion trends she predicts will be big, and if Tim Gunn is as much of a sweetheart as he appears on screen. (Pitter assures fans that Gunn was even nicer and more supportive than you can ever imagine.)
Why is the idea of celebrating people and diversity important to you?
As a designer, we all have our thing that inspires us — and I'm inspired by people. Plus, I've always been a girls-girl. I love hanging with the girls and seeing what they show up in. I also love celebrating people and I never need a reason to celebrate or throw a party. Whatever the reason is ... like, ‘What happened today? We'll have a party for it.’ My husband is like, ‘Is that champagne?’ And I'll tell him I’m celebrating the fact that I woke up this morning! I just feel like there's always something to smile about. And I always wanted to create safe spaces filled with joy, and the only way I knew how to do it was through fashion.
I include people [of all backgrounds and body type] because I know what it's like to be excluded, and it makes me feel good to know that I've created these spaces where everybody can come and enjoy. I know that in my everyday life I'm inclusive, so I wanted to make sure that that's exactly who I remained on the show. And I plan on continuing to be inclusive now that the show is over and that my ready-to-wear brand is being sold in stores [and online].
What was the best piece of advice you received from Tim Gunn?
He’s the sweetest. I definitely had a tender moment with him around episode six where he reminded me that it's okay to be consistent, which was so helpful for me especially since I was a little down after not winning episode five — or winning any challenges for that matter. I think there was a moment when he said to me, ‘You've been consistent, and that's great.’ And then also during that moment in the finale where he gave me his hankie after I was announced as the winner. He let me keep [the hankie], and I still have it.
What memorable moment with the judges stood out to you?
Winnie [Harlow], at one point, said, "I don't always know what Andrea is going to create. But I always know that it's hers." And at that moment, I felt seen because I want to create clothing, or moments, that people don't necessarily expect, but they do expect it from me. So it made me feel like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. And the win in that episode didn't hurt at all [laughs]. But I think at that moment — even before I knew that I was also going to win — I was just like, ‘No way, that's so cool. I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing the way I was supposed to be doing it.’
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect bridal fashion trends?
The pandemic was hard on everyone, there was no industry that was untouched. I think that because the wedding industry is such a sensitive one, it felt very, very traumatic — and it still [feels so]. But there are some trends I’ve noticed that reflect this change. People are working on creating simpler silhouettes and more festive pieces for non-traditional ways of getting married. And people are really focusing on the moment versus all the hoopla surrounding what it's like to get married.
I always say in order to get married, you only need a marriage and everything else is extra. So people are really focusing on what feels special to them. And a lot of people are choosing to show the specialness of the moment through fashion as well.
What advice would you give to other up-and-coming designers?
This is advice I recommend you stick to: When you figure out what it is that you want to do and why you want to do it, you have to check in on it. So if you are a designer who wants to be sustainable, make sure you're checking on that. If you're a designer who wants to be inclusive, make sure that's what you're dedicating your time and your resources to. Devote your time and your energy towards it; devote your passion towards it. We all have this opportunity to tell people who we are, and we get the opportunity to defend it, too. I feel like designers — both new and old — we need to just check on the thing that we said we're going to accomplish.
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