Joe Zee, Vanessa Craft and Kim Cloutier talk new fashion competition series, 'Stitched'

WATCH: 'Stitched:' New series premieres Sep. 9 on Slice.

Corus Studios’ fierce new fashion competition series 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.

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STITCHED, premiering Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice, introduces a new wave of talented fashion designers.

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.

In each of the 12 episodes, three design challenges take place that increase in difficulty, sending one competitor packing each round.

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.

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Global News spoke to Cloutier, Craft and Zee about the new fashion competition series STITCHED, where the deadlines are tight, the expectations are high and the judges are hard to please.

Global News: Can you explain Stitched and what it entails?

Kim Cloutier: It’s a fashion design competition and we have four fashion designers that come every episode. They go through three challenges; the signature challenge where we get to know who they are, the surprise challenge where they work with unconventional materials, and then the stand-out challenge where they do a more elaborate, couture look for our runway. And the winner goes home with $10,000.

What different styles and personalities can viewers look forward to seeing on the show?

Vanessa Craft: We have some that are very confident and we have some that are very shy, very sweet. We have such a diverse range of designers, the ages are 19-61. We really have people from all walks of life and all different levels of experience.

Joe Zee: And across the board, I think all over the United States and Canadian designers as well. The competitors also include people that have showed at New York Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Week, costume designers, even a puppet designer. We’ve had design school students, a YouTuber who is a DIY-er and even someone who knows just how to sew. You’d be surprised by putting someone up against someone who has shown at New York Fashion Week and someone that just sews at home. You think you know what’s going to happen but you don’t.

People love watching competition shows because they are the best to binge watch. There’s so many different types of reality, competition shows. What makes Stitched stand out from the others?

 VC: I can’t think of a time we’ve had a Canadian fashion reality show since Project Runway and I believe that was over a decade ago.

JZ: I actually don’t think there is a lot of shows like this. There’s a lot of shows like this in other categories like cooking shows, and an arts and crafts show that I was watching last night. I think in the world of fashion, you’re not getting this level of challenge, this creativity, this much design all jam-packed in just one hour anywhere else.

VC: And fashion as well, you’re literally taking something that is a craft and you’re seeing a finished garment that is put on a body and is wearable. Everyone understands clothes because everyone gets dressed. It’s really a great equalizer, everyone’s going to have an opinion on the clothes that they see on the show.

Is there any theme or material that the competitors had to use on this show that stands out to you?

VC: I think we were all pretty shocked and possibly horrified when we learned that one of the materials they had to create a full garment out of was paper.

KC: Yes!

JZ: As in like stationary, envelopes, packing. It was kind of amazing. When you actually give them such unconventional ideas and say, ‘You have a certain amount of time to make something,’ you think, ‘Ugh, well when I come back, this is going to be a disaster.’ And sometimes it’s actually a really good surprise and I think that’s what we really look forward to the most. When you actually have to make something not from fabric, what do you think the results are going to be?

KC: They get more creative because they have no choice but to think outside the box.

Do you have any tips on revamping your wardrobe or how to build the perfect wardrobe?

VC: I think you always need to start with your essentials. You have to have good quality basics like the perfect pair of jeans or black pants, a wonderful white T-shirt — boy, is it ever hard to get a good white T-shirt — a good blazer, a good jacket. And then look for a statement piece which could be a statement coat that can be a bright colour, or shoes and a bag that adds a little personality.

JZ: I think just use one or two pieces to change up your wardrobe. It’s too daunting to completely re-do your wardrobe every single season. It’s all about being “seasonless,” as Kim likes to say.

Do you have any predictions for what celebrities might wear to Toronto Fashion Week or the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year?

VC: I’m really looking forward to Lady Gaga in A Star is Born. She’s obviously already a fashion icon so it will be interesting to see how she plays it because the role that she plays, the character is much more brought down and natural and she’s such a theatrical woman.

JZ: I think she’ll turn it out. Some people forget that TIFF is really the first look at all the big Oscar movies that will be nominated. And this is their first impression so you’re going to see a lot of celebrities coming. I think Natalie Portman is coming and Julia Roberts.

What do you think the top fashion trends are right now and what are some to look out for?

VC: Some of the bigger trends that we’ve seen, dark florals and even high-shined fabric, but I often say to people, ‘Try to think more about dressing for you and don’t necessarily follow the season.’ I do think that one of the most important things to look for going into fall is a beautiful coat in a neutral shade if you want to play it a bit safer but there’s nothing wrong with a bright yellow coat. Yellow is a huge colour right now for spring, fall, summer, winter — it doesn’t really matter.

JZ: I think Kim’s thing about being “seasonless” is good. A lot of spring and summer stuff could work really well for the fall like florals, which no one would really think of being a big fall transition. I love that and sort of mixed in with heavier men’s wear fabrics. I love men’s wear fabrics on women.

VC: A little oversized but not too oversized like a Joey Tribbiani.

If you could explain the show in just one word what would it be?

KC: Fabulous! Stitched, exciting.

JZ: Fast paced. It moves so quickly by the time it’s done, you’re like, ‘Wait, that’s my hour. I want more!’ You forget that any other previous design show, you really only saw one look being designed. Here you are seeing three so it’s just moving at a fast pace which I love because fashion’s become that. Fashion is so fast these days.

STITCHED premieres Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice. STITCHED will also air on W Network on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning Sept. 13.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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