Aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry. Each week, a designer is eliminated from the competition after exhibiting their work in front of a judges' panel.
- Eli Holzman
In the premiere of Project Runway, the competition begins with some twists right out of the airport gate. With luggage still in tow, the designers are greeted at the iconic TWA Hotel at JFK airport ready to take flight with their first challenge: to create an innovative look inspired by humanity’s continued push into space exploration. In a Runway first, these unfamiliar designers have to pair up and collaborate to make cohesive pieces that blow away the judges or they are out. Fans will also get a chance to own a piece of the designer creations when they vote on the outfits they like best.
It’s designers gone wild! In this week’s challenge they must create a fresh take on a timeless classic: animal prints. Taking inspiration from the upcoming film, Cats, the designers need to tame their prints into cool street style looks that can compete on the runway and in the Flash Sale challenge.
The designers are awakened by a surprise visitor who may or may not have arrived by chimney. Tis the season for holiday parties and the designers will be challenged to show their sense of spirit in the perfect party dress. They quickly learn that this isn’t a conventional holiday affair… it’s the unconventional materials challenge! Channeling their own holiday memories, the designers have two days to transform a winter wonderland into a wearable wonder, and then it’s up to the judges to decide who’s been naughty or nice.
Mega-stylist to the stars, Karla Welch is here to guest-mentor the designers and she’s got a job for them – dress her client: the one and only Karlie Kloss! Karla’s got a twist though, the materials used to design the look will be donated clothing from a local Goodwill, making this Project Runway’s first upcycling challenge. The designers will need to be resourceful, sustainable, and fast because it’s also their first one day challenge. One designer’s dreams will come true with the chance to dress a supermodel while another will be all out of second chances in this second-hand challenge.
The iconic Cyndi Lauper is both inspiration and guest judge for this totally tubular team challenge. Split into two teams, the designers must create cohesive mini-collections. They need to collaborate to pay homage to Cyndi’s '80s fashion trailblazing that brought underground punk into the pop culture while still giving the looks a totally awesome modern take. Sounds pretty straight forward until Christian throws out a mid-challenge twist that changes everything.
In this week’s challenge, the designers are given a chance to think about their family history and channel those stories and emotions into a look of their choosing. The stakes are high in this one day challenge, as the designers need to face and embrace who they are in order to succeed. Luckily for the designers, there’s a surprise early on that will help boost their chances for success in this Flash Sale Challenge!
Collaborations between fashion designers and artists are all the rage. In this challenge, the designers get a chance to enter into one with the fashion industry’s latest art darling, Ashley Longshore. Ashley’s outrageous pop art, turned into one of a kind prints, gives the runway some of the boldest looks of the season.
The designers realize that the challenges only get harder the longer they survive the competition when they’re faced with the hardest yet: a one-day challenge using some of the toughest textiles: sexy, sheer fabrics. As the challenges get more challenging, the competition heats up and just staying in the game becomes more and more difficult for several designers who are reaching their personal limits and question their ability to make it to the end.
This week’s challenge is all about turning a timeless classic on its head: The Tuxedo. Inspired by recent fashion moments like their mentor Christian Siriano’s groundbreaking Oscar look for Billy Porter, the designers will each need to find their own way to take the tuxedo into the future with a mix of male, female, and non-binary models. A perfectly tailored suit is nearly impossible without help, so the designers get a surprise second set of hands to help out.
Tie dye is back in a big way and the designers will need to create their own textiles to elevate the trend from casual to couture. In a twist that may feel more like a trick to the designers, it’s an overnight challenge! The designers go a bit mad working into the wee hours trying to perfect their techniques and complete their high end looks.
Designing for a client can be tough, especially when your client is a star athlete with high expectations. In this challenge, designers are paired up with a real athlete who will be competing to be in the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games. The designers need to make them their dream outfit for a victory night celebration, using all of their specialty skills to make the perfect proportions for their clients unique bodies, all while keeping their own point of view amongst a tough client challenge.
With only one challenge left to make it to New York Fashion Week, the remaining designers must think big to create an avant-garde look that is anything but ordinary. In a fashion first, the runway begins with a season long retrospective, outside and 16 stories high, at New York City’s dramatic, Vessel. The stakes are as high as the runway, because in fashion one day you’re in, and in this challenge, two will be out.
Christian visits the remaining contestants at home as they furiously complete their final collections. Then it's back to workroom to refine and revise, because even though New York Fashion is here, that doesn't mean everyone will show in the finale.
The remaining designers rush to put the final touches on their collections, balancing advice from experts while trying to not lose their own point of view. It’s game, set, match when Serena Williams joins as guest judge for the final runway, with only one designer chosen as the winner.