Making the Cut finale: Who earned the ultimate fashion prize?

Making the Cut. Image Courtesy Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios
Making the Cut. Image Courtesy Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios /

Only two fashion designers presented their Making the Cut finale collections. In the end, which one proved that being an entrepreneur brings success?

In the Making the Cut finale, the two remaining designers were ready to put on a fashion show. It wasn’t just about a bunch of clothes. They needed to show the drama, the vision, and the drive to be the next big global fashion brand.

Spoiler Alert: Specific details about the Making the Cut finale are revealed beyond this point.

While many fashionistas were drawn to Making the Cut for the fashion (and the return of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn), this Amazon Prime show was about more than just head-turning looks on a runway. It was about creating a brand and a business. If you were awarding a $1 million prize, would you give the money to a person who didn’t have a plan?

Since the ninth episode ended with a “to be continued,” the Making the Cut finale opened with deliberations over who would or would not make it to the finale. Ester, Jonny , and Sander may have wished for all three to be in contention, but one would be leaving. Even looking at the pop-up stores prior to the decision, it seemed that the two finalists were apparent.

Even though he has a clear vision, innovative designs, and a fashion-forward take, Sander would be finishing his run on the show just before the finale. It wasn’t that Sander didn’t have the talent or drive the others had, but he’s so early on in his career. Some of his idealistic beliefs are not ready to conform to the business of fashion.

Although everyone would have loved to see a Sander finale, it was not meant to be. Just imagining what his artistic finale runway would have been is exciting, though.

Making the Cut finale
AUGUST 27, 2019 – New York, NY: Filming season 1 episode 110, the finale of Making The Cut in New York, New York on August 27, 2019. (Photo by David Scott Holloway) /

Winning the pop-up competition was Jonny. His black asymmetrical dress was the winning look; it was also the most-purchased garment at the pop-up event. It was clear that Jonny has debuted a new lifestyle brand beyond the clothes on display. That element could serve him well.

Since this competition has a business focus, both Ester and Jonny had to present their business plans. As said before, if you were funding a $1 million purchase, wouldn’t you want to know how the money was going to be spent?

Looking at the business aspect during the Making the Cut finale is a reminder that fashion is a business. While designers might seem to be giving consumers what they want, it is a give and take relationship.

Think back to many fashion trends or even the current climate. If the consumer isn’t buying what is being sold, it will never be a trend. That ability to maneuver, adapt, and pivot is vital for a successful fashion business.

Since no one tunes into boardroom meetings for entertainment purposes, however, the Making the Cut finale combines drama with its runway collections. While there were a few surprises, the New York City rooftop, nighttime location was the perfect backdrop for the finale.

Making the Cut Finale
Making the Cut. Image Courtesy Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios /

The collections could be summarized simply as Metamorphosis versus Hungry for Life. Where Jonny has made a transformation through this competition, Ester has stayed true to her world. Both approaches are clear, powerful, and an embodiment of each of them. The decision isn’t which collection is better; it is which brand has the potential to impact the fashion world.

Ester’s brand and collection was a commentary that a “mainly black universe possesses a light and shine that can never be dimmed.” In some ways, her choices are emotional. It is more than a garment that impresses visually; it is a garment that empowers a woman to feel good about herself.

Making the Cut Finale
AUGUST 27, 2019 – New York, NY: Filming season 1 episode 110, the finale of Making The Cut in New York, New York on August 27, 2019. (Photo by David Scott Holloway) /

Even though the majority of her looks were part of her black rainbow, each one is thoughtful. More importantly, Ester’s conviction is what sets herself apart. She is proud of her world, and she wants to share those ideas with others.

For Jonny’s collection, the former circus performer continues to walk on the edge. In his collection, Metamorphosis, he said that he was “rediscovering tenderness, celebrating strength, and finding resilience.” Those words seemed to not only describe his finale runway, but also his arc in Making the Cut. From being known just as the leather guy to spreading his wings into the idea of a lifestyle brand, Jonny has made a huge transformation.

In some ways, Jonny’s finale was the perfect launch of his namesake brand, Jonny Cota. He didn’t have to conform to a preconceived notion. He was taking all the knowledge that he had and forging a new path with it.

Making the Cut Finale
AUGUST 27, 2019 – New York, NY: Filming season 1 episode 110, the finale of Making The Cut in New York, New York on August 27, 2019. (Photo by David Scott Holloway) /

Overall, Jonny’s collection felt cohesive and polished. While a few of the judges felt that some styling choices were off, everything made sense together. It was that evolution that people were excited to see.

From the business plans to the final runway show, it was clear that both designers were worthy of the Making the Cut finale and the ultimate prize. The judges seemed to have their rationale and their favorites.

Instead of just revealing the winner, each judge announced his or her choice. This idea is quite interesting because, normally, competitions do not reveal the judges’ choices — just the overall winner. If Making the Cut were to return for another season, it would be interesting to see if future contestants would try to appease the judges’ preferences more.

While Heidi and Naomi chose Ester, Joseph and Cara chose Jonny. Nicole decided the winner, and she picked Jonny.

Making the Cut Finale
Making the Cut. Image Courtesy Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios /

Jonny Cota is the Making the Cut winner. His new namesake brand, Jonny Cota Studio, will be available in the Amazon Fashion store in the United States. His collection will have pieces priced from $40 to $365 and will be available in sizes ranging from XS to XXL.

For fans of Ester, Amazon announced that a collection from Ester Perbandt will become available on and will be available at The Shop by Shopbop in Amazon Fashion’s store.

In the end, Jonny’s win seemed to come from his ability not only to produce fashion that creates a reaction, but to create a lifestyle brand that excites people. Not only does someone want to wear that asymmetrical dress, but they want to have that coat in the closet, the shoes on the rack, and the candle on the vanity. By showing how all those aspects work together, Jonny Cota Studio is going to be a force for years to come.

Next. What were the best winning looks from Making the Cut?. dark

What did you think of the Making the Cut finale? What will you be buying from the winning designer?