Andrea Pitter started her career in the fashion industry as a bridal designer in New York 10 years ago. On Aug. 6, she won season two of Amazon Prime Video’s “Making the Cut,” which was filmed in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was really really excited (about being part of ‘Making the Cut’), and I was instantly kind of like, OK, I have to start thinking about how this is going to potentially change my life or get focused,” Pitter said.
Pitter, who runs the bridal boutique Pantora, took the opportunity of being on the show to expand her brand to modern wear as well as high-end fashion pieces.
Following the eight-episode second season, the finale came down to Pitter, Gary Graham and Andrea Salazar. Throughout the season it was clear who Pitter’s No. 1 competitor was.
“Gary for sure, but I enjoyed that type of competition, because we are so different,” Pitter said. “We are so similar, too, which is interesting, but we are just different types of awkward.
“I really enjoyed the type of competition that inspires me. I love to be able to watch other people’s zones of genius, and Gary was always in his zone, and it was really nice to compete alongside him.”
Graham and Salazar won brand stores on Amazon as the second- and third-place winners, respectively.
As the winner, Pitter received a mentorship, $1 million to expand her brand, two collections to be sold on Amazon, as well as a three-year lease for a brick-and-mortar storefront in ROW DTLA.
“For so many years people have been asking how to find Pantora in LA or on the West Coast, so now I’m like, ‘Yes, come on, opportunities,’” Pitter said. “I’m really really pumped about being able to. I’m actually opening two stores at the ROW DTLA.”
Pitter plans to open a store based on the fashion pieces shown within the show, as well as a separate bridal store that is a continuation of her store in Brooklyn, New York.
“I think (the Pantora store) is going to be more of a pop-up vibe,” Pitter explained. “I want to be able to change the aesthetic regularly.
“I think the cool thing about the way I won that store is kind of like the thing that I want to play a role in the actual vibe of that store. My New York store is a little bit different, but I want it to feel like people can pop in.”
Her favorite assignment to cover on the show was the avant garde assignment in the fifth week. She had a “go big or go home” mentality, and she “literally” went big.
“That one was my favorite, because I was able to kind of tap into my childhood and add my favorite moments, my favorite music videos playing, and moments of my family,” Pitter said.
“I thought about the festivals and the carnivals that we got to attend. I thought about the Missy Elliott video. All of the things that were really really special about my childhood made it fun.”
The most difficult part was the group assignment, for which she was paired with fellow designer Ally Ferguson.
“Ally and I worked really really well together. It was just hard for me because I didn’t really love the results,” Pitter said.
While filming in Los Angeles during the pandemic, Pitter felt that the entire group was “really well taken care of.”
“I felt good that I didn’t have to cook any meals,” the married mom of one said. “Listen, I was almost living a life to a degree. Besides having to wake up early and go to sleep late, outside of that it was good.”
After the final runway where each designer showed their final 10 looks, it all came down to a final interview with the judges where Pitter was announced as the winner.
“I had a lot of emotions. I don’t know if I was able to have a reaction, because I fell right into tears,” Pitter said. “I was almost inconsolable to a degree. It was very, very emotional.”
Co-host Tim Gunn gave her a slightly used handkerchief that she kept a hold of the entire night because “the tears didn’t even stop when we were done filming,” according to Pitter. Her husband, son, sister and mother video chatted directly following her win.
“I felt validated, and I don’t always love to fall into the validation track,” Pitter said. “I like to have the feel-good vibes come from me, but it felt really nice for the judges to feel the way they did about the work that I produced.”
Of co-host Heidi Klum, designer Jeremy Scott and supermodel Winnie Harlow, Pitter was quick to call Klum the most difficult judge.
“Heidi was definitely the toughest judge, but I think she is also the one with the most experience as a judge, too,” Pitter said. “She was very, like, ‘on it.’ Heidi says what Heidi feels.”
As she gets ready to open her stores in the coming weeks, Pitter remembers the lessons she learned during her time as part of “Making the Cut.”
“One, don’t be afraid to assert yourself,” Pitter said. “Sometimes you have to speak up, even if it’s not going to be taken well.
“I think for me it is sometimes one of the things you have to question whether you should be assertive, whether you stand up for people, and the answer is pretty much always ‘yes.’”
Having learned from her experience, she suggests prospective designers do their research and intern.
“Seek out opportunity, even if it doesn’t immediately feel like an opportunity,” Pitter said. “It’s OK to start small and grow into who you are.”
Pitter’s collections are available on Amazon under the “Making the Cut” store, while the brick-and-mortar storefronts are set to open in the coming weeks.