My job as a fashion editor usually runs parallel to the fashion industry. I observe its calendar, chronicle its changes, call out style over substance - but fashion television has never been 'my thing'.
I've always seen it as a somewhat jaded genre and I blame the endless makeover reality shows for that. And to be honest, I'm as guilty as the next air-kissing fashionista when it comes to promoting these kind of set-ups. For five years, I presented a weekly fashion slot on RTÉ's Afternoon Show. How many bags of new trends, slim-you-down, cheer-you-up clothes did I drag out to Montrose?
And then there were makeovers. Confidence builders? Yes. But I, like so many people, gave up watching these kind of ugly-duckling-to-swan transformations years ago.
Fast forward to the Covid-19 crisis and we are all watching more TV than ever, venturing on to new networks and signing up for streaming services. Certainly, I've begun watching things of late I wouldn't normally bother with and it started last week with the newest addition to the fashion reality TV family, Making The Cut. It's led me to the realisation that nowadays there is much more fashion reality TV out there to be consumed.
It's all quite a contrast from our gentle Irish fashion TV offerings of the past, which moved from Head To Toe into the Off The Rails years.
Meanwhile, over on Channel 4, Gok Wan was unfailingly kind with his Fashion Fix makeover show but on the BBC, Trinny and Susannah delivered a whiff of posh privilege in their What Not To Wear show.
Now, with no runway designer shows to pore over and the mid-season drops cancelled, I've pulled out the remotes and deep dived into the new generation of fashion reality TV which offers a slice of escapism during the lockdown isolation.
Project Runway on Bravo is the original of this particular species of fashion TV. Now in season 18, it's been rebooted with supermodel Karlie Kloss presenting and designer Christian Siriano doing the mentoring. Christian won series four of Project Runway but remains the only winner on the show to become a really big player on the fashion scene, which has been, to date, part of the problem with these kind of shows.
Then, this January saw the arrival of Next in Fashion, streaming giant Netflix's take on the genre. Model-turned-TV-presenter Alexa Chung and designer Tan France present this reality show which has 18 contestants. But the crucial difference with it predecessors is that there are no amateurs, some of the contestants are even 'ghost designers' for bigger labels. So they know their stuff. The golden ticket is that the winner's collection will sell on Net-a-Porter - when it re-opens for business.
Then, last week, and just in time for the latest round of even stricter lockdown measures, the newest kid on the block arrived. Making the Cut is the latest iteration of the Project Runway model and is fronted by that show's original 'mum and dad', presenter Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn.
The pair jumped ship to Amazon in 2018 and are both presenter/executive producers on the streaming service's first foray into fashion reality TV. A dozen designers battle it out over the 10 episodes, creating a 'runway look' and an 'accessible look' each week, and the latter gets sold on Amazon, in sizes XXS to XXL.
Last week I spoke to hosts Klum, who was on lockdown in Los Angeles, and Gunn, the fashion consultant, author and commentator, who was speaking from New York. So, what is the point of these shows, I asked them.
Klum tells me how the genre has now moved on leaps and bounds since its earlier incarnations.
"These designers on Making The Cut get tested on all the criteria of the business. It's not just a sewing competition any more. It's wonderful because finally the designers make some money and also, 100pc of the money that is being made on all the clothes is going directly to the designers."
Klum says this was part of the reason they moved to Amazon.
"That's why we wanted to jump ship, Tim and I because we felt like with our old show [Project Runway], we never had the full circle of it all.
"If you are a designer and you don't have a customer wearing your clothes, it's nice to watch and it's entertaining, but wouldn't you want also as a viewer to be able to buy this winning look that you all love so much?
So finally, we have a full circle and we are really looking at this show as a real business opportunity for this winner. They get $1m, support from Amazon and also each winning look every week gets sold to over 200 territories around the world."
Tim agrees that this has elevated the show to another level. "The branding aspect makes for a broader, more substantial dialogue. It's a bigger conversation," he tells me.
Respected in the industry, Gunn - you might have spotted him playing himself in ABC's Ugly Betty - says that with Making The Cut, he found it "much more relevant talking about one's future in the fashion industry than just talking about a single item of apparel."
I ask how they both feel about the changed fashion landscape we may find ourselves in at the end of the current Covid-19 crisis. Klum feels it is too soon to make predictions.
"To be honest, we are all living in the unknown. For me, I feel that right now for every human, it is the time to think and re-evaluate and think some more. We have to take it one day at a time. Now while we have this time, we need to think about every step that we make going forward."
The former supermodel says the team is very proud of the show, which has its finale on April 24, and they hope it will "provide some positivity, some distraction for people around the world".
Another former supermodel, Naomi Campbell, is part of the five-strong judging panel. The line-up also includes Paris-born designer Joseph Altuzarra and the smokey-eyed French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld. Also joining the show is former IT girl and designer Nicole Richie, whose House of Harlow label is also sold on the show's online shop along with products from Joseph, Heidi and Tim. It's quite the business model. The fifth judge is Chiara Ferragni, the Italian influencer known as 'The Blonde Salad'.
So will we be surprised by the winner?
"I think, in the end, it boils down to a handful. It was hard for us to pick a winner. It wasn't that obvious and we were kind of fighting. We didn't headbutt each other at all but it gets heated and there are people that are not afraid to speak their minds," Klum tells me.
The e-commerce angle to these fashion reality shows remains a sticking point. We watch because we are interested in fashion and the locations of Paris, Tokyo and New York are great eye-candy right now. But will we be too afraid to click and spend when there is so much uncertainty about the future?
And it remains to be seen whether, after the weeks or months to come spent working from home in our comfy athleisure wear, any of us actually want to return to the non-stretch fabrics and restrictive cuts of 'regular' fashion. And written by a fashion editor wearing leggings and hoodie, that's certainly a question worth pondering.