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Slice’s Stitched gives fashion designers the chance to sew up $10,000

Toronto Fashion Week is just wrapping up. It’s not only a time for veteran designers to show their latest wares but an opportunity for up-and-comers to display their chops too. It’s happening on the small screen as well, thanks to Stitched.

Credit Corus Entertainment for some great timing; Stitched is debuting this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice when Fashion Week is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Hosted by Canadian fashion model and actress Kim Cloutier and judged by fashion veteran Joe Zee and Elle Canada editor-in-chief Vanessa Craft, Stitched challenges North American designers to be creative with unique materials (Sunday’s debut boasts fun faux fur) while under a serious time crunch.

Each instalment finds four designers going head-to-head in a trio of themed challenges. Each test is followed by judging under the scrutiny of Zee, Craft and a rotating panel of guest judges including Hayley Elsaesser, Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan, and Ania B. The one contestant left standing in each of the 12 episodes will pocket $10,000.

We spoke to Zee and Craft about why they got involved in the project and what viewers can expect when they tune in.

Vanessa, you’re the editor of Elle Canada and well-established in the industry. What attracted you to Stitched? Were you interested in doing TV?
Vanessa Craft: Well mostly, I’m asked to do appearances or speak on fashion trends and things like that on television programs or news programs. It’s something I’m definitely comfortable with. When it came to Stitched, it’s a no-brainer. It was actually getting to see something I love, fashion created right in front of us because I would be able to support the designers who are in various stages of their careers. Which is also something I love to do because you want to support talent in whatever way that you can. I was just really, really attracted to not only the premise of the show, but the construct is getting to meet so many different designers over a period of 12 episodes.

Joe, how about you? 
Joe Zee: Well, I grew up in Toronto. This is my hometown. Then, I get moved to New York and I’ve been there now for like what, almost 30 years. I love supporting anything that is Canadian homegrown. I’m so glad to have been come from here and all this. Any time anyone calls, I’m always very intrigued and excited about being able to participate. And, when I got the call from Forté, the production company behind this, they had actually called me to do a guest judge on Project Runway Canada 10 years ago. I remember when I came to do it, in Ottawa, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, the production value is amazing.’ To this day, I talk about how great that show was, how great the production was, and I was like, ‘This is totally going to be spectacular. I’ve got to be a part of this.’ So, it was a no-brainer for me to just come back here after 30 years and to participate in fashion and at the same time know that it’s gonna be top quality and premium product.

And this is an incredible prize, I mean, $10,000 being given away each week. That’s a life changer for some people, right Joe?
JZ: Oh, I mean, it makes me wanna go learn how to sew. I mean, it’s incredible. The reality is that you can come to a show and really show off your talent and promote who you are as a designer. And potentially walk home with an incredible prize. I mean, who doesn’t want to see that?

Vanessa, do you really see winning as being able to further somebody’s career if they’re relatively new to the industry?
VC: Regardless of the stage you are in your career, because it’s not just the money, of course, it helps put a dent in the huge cost that it takes to run a fashion line and support yourself, but also, the exposure of the show is going to result in you ending up with so many people seeing what you’re doing, so many people coming into social meetings to find you, so many people who might even want to buy your clothes. I think it’s wonderful to see the difference between having designers that are established and shown at Toronto Fashion Week, and designers that maybe are self-taught, and learned on YouTube, or from someone in their family, or something like that. So, yeah, I think the money’s incredibly important, but it doesn’t really matter only about the money.

Clothes are an art and art is subjective. Joe, what do you look for when you’re looking at a design from somebody?
JZ: I love this question. We have posited it so much in the last year or two and I think the reality’s like, it is subjective and we keep saying that that’s what fashion is, but it’s such an emotional connection with clothes that it never really is, no pun intended, black or white. And, a lot of times, what I like, Vanessa might not, and what Vanessa likes, I might not, and that’s OK. Neither of us is wrong or right. We are here to guide, really the designer and also everybody watching. It’s just what our personal feelings are. I don’t really have a checklist. Yes, of course, we look for good construction and credible creativity, a vision, a point of view. But there were times, literally, when we walked out with their creation. I was like, ‘Man that’s not well made. It’s not really constructed well, I’m not sure … I will tell you that I still love it. I kinda like what you’re intending to do. You just didn’t have time, your execution fell short, but what you’ve put in there, the idea, it was really a winning idea.’

VC: I think that’s a truly great question because we’re essentially looking at something that is subjective, so how do you know whether it’s good or not? Well, it’s a combination of instinct, of course. It’s a combination of your taste. It’s a combination of what drives you. But I do think what fashion is supposed to make you feel, what fashion’s supposed to represent is that you get the message you take to world about yourself, and that is up to you. And for Joe and I to say, ‘This works for me or this doesn’t work for me,’ yes, it’s just an opinion. It’s an informed opinion and it’s very important. And it’s also an opinion where we’ve seen a lot. At the end of the day, it’s really coming down to do they grab our emotion? Do we have an emotional connection to the fact the designer’s trying to say, to the story the designer’s trying to tell, does the designer have a point?

Stitched airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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Stitched delivers high stakes fashion beginning Sept. 9 on Slice

From a media release:

Lights, camera, fashion! In Corus Studios’ fierce new fashion competition series STITCHED (12×60), the deadlines are tight, the expectations are high and the judges are hard to please. Premiering Sunday, September 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice™, STITCHED showcases jaw-dropping couture creations and big fashion personalities. Hosted by Canadian fashion model and actress Kim Cloutier and an esteemed panel of resident judges including style expert Joe Zee and ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Craft, each high-style meets high-stakes episode sees four skilled North American designers face off in three dramatic themed challenges. Nothing less than perfection will suffice as the designers compete to prove that they are ready to take the fashion world by storm, and win a $10,000 cash prize.

Following an extensive North America-wide search, 48 highly skilled designers are set to compete in the STITCHED workroom over the course of the season. The designers hail from coast to coast and beyond including St. John’s, N.L., Montreal, Que., Toronto, Ont., Saskatoon, Sask., Calgary, Alta., Los Angeles, Calif., Bronx, N.Y., and more. The competitors vary in age, experience level and design aesthetic but the one thing they all have in common is a passion for fashion. Throughout the season, the designers’ breathtaking pieces will walk the runway on an array of professional and amateur models, including mother-daughter duos, drag queens, real-life brides and young-at-heart seniors. Learn more about the design hopefuls here.

In each of the 12 episodes, three design challenges take place that increase in difficulty, sending one competitor packing each round. The premiere episode, titled Fashion Fur Real, will kick off with “The Signature” where four designers show off their unique style using only fun faux fur. Up next in “The Surprise” challenge, the remaining competitors must avoid tired designs and create fabulous garments using only bedroom materials. Then, in the heated “Standout” round, the final two must create a runway-worthy design that displays their interpretation of a modern superheroine, and prove that they have what it takes to win. Throughout the season, designers will be challenged with everything from reimagining the Canadian tuxedo and creating a garment without a needle or thread, to making an ambitious outfit using only camping materials and designing a couture look out of sporting goods. Some designers may crack under pressure, while others will create dynamic designs.

Joining in on the critique with judging panel Joe Zee and Vanessa Craft, are rotating guest judges including fashion industry elites Hayley Elsaesser, Greta Constantine’s Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, Mackage’s Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan and fashion influencer Ania B.

As the exclusive fashion retailer for the series, Marshalls is integrated into various episodes through surprising challenges and guest stylist appearances. The Marshalls Accessory Shop, stocked full with designer footwear, purses, belts, sunglasses and more, acts as the ultimate style destination for designers to complete their final looks before heading to the runway. Beginning September 9, fans of the series can also enter the Marshalls Stitched contest running on Slice.ca for a chance to win a weekly prize and a $1,000 Marshalls shopping spree.

Throughout the season on Slice.ca, viewers can get a behind-the-scenes look at the STITCHED set with Joe Zee, learn more about host Kim Cloutier and her break into the fashion industry, and watch Vanessa Craft talk trends and timeless fashion. In addition, behind-the-scenes photo galleries and closer looks at each week’s designs will be available after each episode. Full episodes will also be available On Demand with participating service providers and online after broadcast at Slice.ca/stitched.

Slice is available on a National Free Preview for the month of September. Please check local listings for additional details. STITCHED will also air on W Network Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning September 13.

STITCHED is produced by FORTÉ Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for Slice.

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Corus Studios announces start of production on competition series Stitched

From a media release:

Fast fashion and flying hemlines have a whole new meaning as Corus Studios, a division of Corus Entertainment, starts production and international sales on STITCHED (12×60), a fierce original fashion competition series that fuses jaw-dropping creations and big personalities from the world of North American fashion. Hosted by Canadian fashion model Kim Cloutier, the series boasts an esteemed panel of resident judges including style expert Joe Zee and ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Craft. Produced by FORTÉ Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for Slice™, STITCHED is shooting in Toronto, Ont. and slated to premiere in fall 2018.

Introducing a new wave of talented fashion designers, the series matches wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatically themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the oh-so-sharp resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, the top designer from each episode rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize.

Meet the endlessly chic host and panel of STITCHED:

Kim Cloutier (Host): Montreal-born and internationally known fashion model Kim Cloutier takes the reigns as host. Having worked on campaigns spanning from Victoria Secret to Redken, Kim brings her insider knowledge of the fashion industry to the STITCHED runway.

Joe Zee (Resident Judge): World-renowned fashion power player with over two decades of experience, Joe has occupied top positions at several prestigious publications (Vanity Fair, Allure, Elle US), as well as conquering the worlds of broadcast, digital and publishing. Formerly, Joe served as the executive creative director at Yahoo Style and is a frequent fashion and pop culture expert with regular appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s TODAY show, CNN, Extra! and Access Hollywood.

Vanessa Craft (Resident Judge): ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Craft rounds out the solid resident judging panel. A jet-setting authority on fashion who is a fixture at international runway shows, this style expert is eloquent and playful and always looking for the deeper story behind a designer’s vision.

Additional details on STITCHED will be announced at later date. The series is available for international sales at MIPTV. Visit Rita Carbone Fluery, Corus Studios Worldwide Sales at Stand R7.N3 (Riviera 7).

For Corus, Krista Look is the Director of Original Lifestyle Content and Andrea Griffith is Executive in Charge of Production. On behalf of FORTÉ Entertainment, Andrea Gabourie and Mitchell Gabourie serve as Executive Producers and Natalie Schenk is Series Producer.

 

 

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Slice’s First Dates Canada searches for a love connection in Season 2

Yes, First Dates Canada is back. Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood is once again the setting for Slice’s reality series as over 600 single folks auditioned to find love in a restaurant environment … and with reality cameras capturing every moment.

Returning on Tuesday with back-to-back instalments, Episode 1 begins with exotic dancer Madelaine. Rather than attracting men, her job repels them; Madelaine is hoping to find an Agent Mulder a.k.a. David Duchovny, a strong man in a nice suit. Producers were paying attention when reading Madelaine’s wish list because they throw, tall masculine stuntman Jason her way. The pair share laughs over ill-advised tattoos until she reveals her profession … and Jason doesn’t flinch. Will they find love by the end of the night?

Masseuse Megan, meanwhile is—as the narrator intones—”looking to get her hands on Mr. Right.” (Subtle, First Dates Canada is not.) Megan is looking for a manly man who will build a fire and shelter for her if the need arose. She gets Rob, who has been referred to as a Renaissance Man by folks. At first glance, it appears Megan and Rob have absolutely nothing in common and their night will end early. (Her, “Please don’t let that be my date,” under her breath as he approached is a major hint.) You’ll have to stay tuned through the awkward conversation and borderline offensive dinner discussion to see if things pan out.

I was unabashedly cheering for were Landon and Tyler. The former, who is deaf, was hoping to find someone who cared deeply enough for him to learn sign language. The latter had his fingers crossed a husband was in his future. The fact Tyler knows some sign language gains him instant points with Landon.

Adding to the First Dates fun are off-hand comments in Episode 1 made by maître d’ Michel (second from the right in the above image), who comments on one participants’ shoes and opines on the stresses of a first date. In fact, producers have included select staff to talk about their own dating experiences.

First Dates is highly enjoyable if you’re looking for pure guilty pleasure entertainment. It’s the perfect program to sit and watch with friends so that you can laugh, poke fun at—and perhaps commiserate—along with for an hour.

First Dates Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET on Slice.

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The Real Housewives of Toronto oozes wealth and drama on Slice

You know what you’re going to get from The Real Housewives franchise. Cameras follow a gaggle of ladies as they go about their highfalutin lives, juggling cocktail parties and galas, strutting red carpets and posing for pictures, hanging out and complaining about how simply awful their lives are.

So, is The Real Housewives of Toronto—bowing Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Slice—like all the others? Yup, and that’s just fine if you enjoy it. If that’s not your cup of expensive, shipped directly from the source, organically-grown tea, then you should skip the program altogether.

“When you have money and a fabulous life, lots of people want to be your ‘friend,'” fashionista Kara Alloway warns during the opening tease. (Thankfully, I have never had that problem.)

Set against a poppy, bass-driven soundtrack we meet Roxy Earle, who is equally unapologetic about her body as she is her personality. And why shouldn’t she be? Confident and opinionated, she’s the type of woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and I love her for it. (If only she wouldn’t refer to herself in the third person.) Roxy’s husband is older than her, her dog has a private chef and is groomed every other week, and she spends weekends in Turks and Caicos.

Then it’s on to Ann Kaplan Mulholland, who lives in tony Forest Hill and started a finance company when she was a single mother. Now it’s one of the biggest in Canada. Ann is a sharp contrast to Roxy; older, married to plastic surgeon Stephen Mulholland, and an avid collector of diamonds.

I won’t introduce the other ladies in the cast—I’ll let viewers enjoy the entrances and backstories of Kara Alloway, Grego Minot, Joan Kelley Walker and Jana Webb themselves—but suffice it to say slow-motion walking, clothes shopping (in Kara’s case, with Jesus as her wingman), smoothies, workouts and lunches are the most stressful events faced by the six in Episode 1.

The Real Housewives of Toronto certainly isn’t Cardinal or Bellevue and it’s not supposed to be. A series like this is meant to be ogled, analyzed and enjoyed like the entertaining confection it is. So go ahead and do it.

The Real Housewives of Toronto airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Slice.

Image courtesy of Corus.

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