Project Runway Junior: Meet the Contestants
Project Runway hasn’t been the same since it moved to Lifetime. Ratings have dropped because it’s less about the designs and more about the drama, but it looks like that’s all about to change for the better with Project Runway Junior.
There are 12 contestants, about half of whom hail from California, vying to win the competition. It feels unfair to do this with children but one episode in and I already have a few faves.
There’s 16 year-old tomboy Samantha from Queens, 15 year-old Jaxson from Minneapolis, Kansas who comes up with catchphrases as fierce as his designs, Bridget, a 15 year-old Brockton, MA girl who designs classic styles, and the baby of the bunch Maya from Toledo, who created an incredibly sophisticated pieces to be only thirteen.
This group will be judged by designer Christian Siriano who got his start as the Project Runway Season 4 winner, Kelly Osbourne who recently left Fashion Police and Aya Kanai of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen Magazine. Tim Gunn won’t be judging but he’ll serve as a mentor as Model Hannah Davis hosts.. This season’s winner will receive a full scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, a home sewing studio sponsored by Brother, a spread in Seventeen magazine and $25,000 to launch their own line!
For their first challenge the contestants had to create a design inspired by New York City. Most of the contestants went with dark evening attire, incorporated the skyline or channeled taxis lined up along the street, but New York City native Samantha dug a little deeper for her inspiration. Samantha thought about the two sides of New York fashion – the dressed up chic version and comfortable on-the-go style so she came up with this cropped top and denim culotte look that won the challenge!
Sidenote – I couldn’t help but notice how many of the models this season are black. Could this be an early sign of what runways will look like in the near future or just a one-off? I’m not sure, but it was interesting to see one of the teens call her super-thin model too “Bootylicious” for the original design. Get over it hun. You’re gonna have to design for these types of bodies when you make it.
Back to the elimination. It came down to two Cali kids – 15 year-old Zach and Sami who both had pretty elementary designs. While Zach’s pink prom dress looked like anything I could have designed in 6th grade with no fashion background, it’s worth knowing that he created it in less than an hour. Sami’s design wasn’t only poorly conceived but sloppily crafted as well. Ultimately the judges took Zach’s personal style as a hint that he had more potential than he’d unleashed for the “First Impressions” challenge and Sami was sent home.
Based on the first episode I’m excited for Project Runway Junior. Kids have an advantage when it comes to creativity – they haven’t heard “No!” enough to discourage them from being adventurous. I’m curious to see what they come up with over the course of the season and in the future, how many of these kids will make it in the industry.
Project Runway Junior airs Thursday nights at 9pm on Lifetime and I’ll be watching all season. Live-tweet with me, or just meet me here on Fridays for the recap!