I like reality television shows, but my preferred ones are craft based shows, where talent and skills are shown off and creativity is allowed flourish. Unfortunately there aren’t many, and my two favourites are the only ones I think are worth mentioning. Regrettably both shows are sewing and garment based but I guess it would be rather difficult to make a show where you watch someone knit or crochet for several hours at a time!!
I have watched Project Runway for years now, and I love the exposure to high concept very highly skilled couture sewing skills are shown every week, I love the ‘bizarre’ challenges and the absolutely fabulousness of the show. I also enjoy the (very) American dramatics that accompany the show too! The outfits created are always creative, sometimes pushing the envelope on what fashion can be and I love how innovative and startling some creations can be, it’s always a treat sitting down to catch up with this show.
It’s in it’s eleventh season now, but I am slowly working my way through them as (ssssh) the series aren’t available very easily on this side of the Atlantic! I adore Tim Gunn, I just wish that there was a LOT more of him in the show.
I decided to try and limit myself to mentioning only three designers that I loved (but might not have won!) throughout the first nine seasons and the first season of the Canadian version of the show.
Austin Scarlett is the designer who made me fall in love with Project Runway, I loooved his designs and am so jealous of his vision and skills! Leanna Marshall and her intricate and stunningly beautiful work makes me want to try and become a better sewer, and what higher praise can you give someone other than they are an inspiration? My third favourite is so difficult to chose as there have been so many amazing designers, and certainly I have liked at least some of a designers work in one show or another. I think I would have to go with a woman who took part in the first season of Project Runway Canada, Marie Geneviève, I think her work that reflected her own personality and fun style really captured what I would love to have the skills to design and make some day.
The most recent show in this vein that I have gotten into is The Great British Sewing Bee, quite simply, I LOVE this show.
Wearable articles of clothing, beautiful execution (that make me wish I was as talented and amazing as the people who took part), and the beautiful atmosphere of gentle competition makes this my standout favourite (for all reality shows, nevermind craft based shows). It also makes me feel that this skill level is attainable, that I can do it!
It aired in the last few weeks in the UK on BBC, and I think it was the sublime down-to-earth attitude that drew me to this show. The pieces created are ones I can imagine (and hopefully one day will get around to), sewing and wearing. The people who took part were all relatable, yet the drama was not projected onto other contestants nor was a make believe drama created to add interest to the show. The contestants had strong personalities that shone through in their work.
I also was very taken by the style of presentation and judging that was adopted by this show, the judges saw the work being carried out on the garments, the presenter, Claudia Winkleman, had genuine relationships with the participants and the very subtle British/Irish style of humour and comradeship made me really fall in love with this show. It also helps that the tailor Patrick Grant (he took over Norton and Son when the business was flailing and resurrected the company) is so well dressed that you cannot help but fall a little bit in love with him (or is it his clothes I’m falling for? Who knows! All I know is it’s love!), I also have a super soft spot for May Martins approach, and her constructive criticism. (I also may want to try to sneak into Ann’s home and force her to teach me everything she knows!)
Oh and how can I not mention the room the show is based in, that haberdashery selection, the fabrics, the trims, the buttons, everything just makes my mouth water!
I had read criticism from a lot of British TV reviewers, complaining that the show was boring or a waste of time, I just think that it’s glaringly obvious that they really don’t understand the workmanship that goes into sewing and they cannot appreciate the effort and satisfaction of producing something that you’ve made yourself. I really hope this show comes back for a second season!! I would also love to dream about a spin-off of this show, where sewing classes are taught and simple projects worked through by like a Delia of sewing, that really would be the icing on the cake for me.
What do you guys think? What TV shows do you think highlight genuine talent and skills? Have you any recommendations?
All the best,