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Designers Learn How to (Make It) Work on a New Season of Project Runway


A new season of Project Runway is here with a whole new crop of talented designers. This year, the show chose a large number of contestants who use fabric in unusual ways. Karen uses her photography skills to create her own fabrics, Justin sews pennies into his shirts and creates shoulder details out of straight pins, and Sandro turns a crochet fishnet into a dress.

But the prize for the most unusual designer goes to Timothy Westbrook. He says that he’s completely dedicated to sustainability so he only used left over fabric that was destined for the dumpster. Recycling is admirable and makes a great hook to hang your business on, but once the contestants hit the workroom Timothy’s style goes from unique to freak.


He refused to use a sewing machine because it uses electricity but he has no trouble setting fire to the challenge material – nylon parachute. He burns it to create an interesting texture but that creates toxic fumes! Shame on you, Timothy.

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As if that wasn’t enough to set him apart (in a bad way), Timothy insisted on having his model perform a theatrical work on stage instead of walking the runway like everyone else. His crazy request drives the poor model to tears and in the end she walked like all the rest because the producers said it wasn’t fair to give her more time on the stage. 

Project Runway Biz Tip: Standing out in the workplace is great but only if it’s for all the right reasons.

Another person who stood out in the wrong way was Miranda. She couldn’t work with the parachute material that was supposed to be the basis for her garment, so she created a dress out of supplemental fabric and accented it with pieces of the bright chute.

Her dress was one of the judges’ favorites, but she ended up in the bottom for not following the rules. Thanks to her stubborn streak, she almost lost out on the half million dollar prize.

Project Runway Biz Tip: Forget those biz books that tell you that winners are the ones who break the rules. Playing fair might be the longer route but at least people will respect you when you arrive at the top.

When it came time for judging, the designers were hit with two twists. First, they learned that for the first time, the runway show would be completely anonymous. Without knowing whose creation is whose, they’re more likely to vote with their eyes and not their heart. Going forward, that will be great news for designers who rub the judges the wrong way.

Also for the first time, Tim Gunn is joining the judges. He’s won’t have voting power but he’ll be there to tell the judges about all of the fighting, cheating, and divatude that often goes on in the workroom. That’s bad news for contestants who can’t play well with others.

After the show, Lifetime aired a provocative trailer for the rest of the season including a tease about a contestant who goes missing. Sounds like some designers should have kept those parachutes for an early bailout.

Watch Project Runway every Thursday at 9pm on Lifetime.

What Do You Think?

If you were on Project Runway, would you rather change your design aesthetic and win or stick to your guns and lose?

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NYC Salaries at Fashion Week 

Photo by Barbara Nitke / Lifetime,  Copyright 2013

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