Meet Rafael Chaouiche, Brazilian designer finalist of the reality show Making the Cut // News // FFW

Anyone who is a fan of fashion reality shows should know the show “Making the Cut“, presented by hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn since 2020. For the first time, the program, in its third season, brought in its casting a Brazilian designer: Rafael Chaouiche, from Curitiba, who came in second, losing the award to Yannik Zamboni.

Born on a farm in the interior of Paraná, Rafael convinced his family to support his career in fashion: “My mother always supported me in my arts and my father was shocked”, recalls the stylist to FFW. Rafael, 28, moved to Curitiba to study fashion and work as a costume designer. With the experience, he got a spot on Rede Globo’s reality show “Como Manda o Figurino” in which he came in second. The visibility of TV opened up opportunities for the designer, who then created his eponymous brand and since then his colorful and fluid creations have dressed figures such as Grazi Massafera, Thai de Melo and Silvia Braz.

Photo: Courtesy (Chaouiche)

The invitation to participate in Making the Cut took place in 2019 “an international scout said that the program’s production found my profile and they liked my work a lot. She suggested I apply by recording a video and I did.” But the pandemic prevented Rafael from going to the United States to record the program and his name ended up being in standby. “I went from November 2019 to September 2021 without any news, and that left me feeling empty because I felt like I had missed the biggest opportunity of my life,” he says.

Image: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

When he had already given up hope of one day participating in the program, he received an email from the production resuming the invitation, a month before he had to leave for Los Angeles. Speaking no English, he had to take two months of conversation classes to prepare to face the host duo and star judges Nicole Richie and Jeremy Scott.

Rafael and Tim Gunn / Photo: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

Rafael and Tim Gunn / Photo: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

The relationship with the judges was described as mixed feelings. Tim Gunn, for Rafael, was like a father. “He would come to my table and when he arrived I was euphoric. He is an icon, being with him was a privilege.” Rafael also told us that the presenter of the program had a certain affection for the designer, advising and speaking slowly because of Rafael’s English. According to Chaouiche, Heidi and Nicole adored him right away. He believes that this attunement came about because they appreciate the artist’s fluid signature and identify with his fluid silhouette. As for Jeremy Scott, Rafael says that his friends commented that the designer (who plays the role of the executioner on the show) was bothered by the favoritism of the presenters. “At a certain point I started to notice that it felt like he was criticizing me more than other participants,” he says.

Program participants / Photo: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

Rafael with his back to program participants / Photo: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

However, this did not deter him from continuing on the program. Rafael saw his participation as an incentive and an example for other Brazilians who want to try for a chance to participate in international programs with such visibility. “Being the first Brazilian to participate in an American fashion competition is a strength for everyone who wants to try something, but feels diminished for being Brazilian”. He describes that he has received a lot of affection not only from Brazilians, who fill the posts in which he appears on the program’s Instagram. Other people from countries like Mexico, the United States and London show support for him via social networks, in tense situations that he starred in reality. With difficulty using the sewing machine, in one of the episodes he injured his finger and ended up going to the hospital and that cost him elimination and losing his chance to reach the final.

Photo: Disclosure

Photo: Disclosure

However, for those who have followed the reality since the first seasons, I had the expectation of having a Brazilian champion, and we almost got there, after all he was the second place in the competition. The father, who at the beginning of Rafael’s career had his doubts about investing in his son’s dream, now follows the program and loves it. However, his mother is unfortunately unable to assist her stylist son. Hospitalized for throat cancer, she died a month before the show aired. “She really wanted to live and wondered if she would be able to hold on to see me until the premiere. It shocked me a lot,” she recalls. When he arrived on the program for the first recordings, her situation got more complicated and she went to the ICU. “But I know that she died at the height of her pride, for having been able to see that I completed and realized my dream, which she has always been a fundamental support for”, she describes. Asking about the post-show plans, all Rafael wants is to take some time to rest before heading back to work and reaping the laurels of international visibility.

Photo: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

Collab between Chaouiche and Champions / Photo: Publicity (Amazon Prime)

The article is in Portuguese

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