Project Runway contestants compete for New York Fashion Week


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

Avery Greenaway, Web Editor

After the latest episode of Project Runway, a whopping total of five designers are being given the opportunity to have a “make it work moment” on the New York Fashion Week runway.

Or are they?

In the most recent sneak peek into the next episode, Heidi reveals to the designers that they will first showcase their standard 10-look collections to the judges, and then the judges will select which designers get to showcase for Fashion Week.

After the judges literally just told all five designers they would all get to showcase, this leaves viewers a little frustrated. The judges should have just kicked someone off last week rather than have the same five designers compete for the same thing — the Holy Grail of Fashion Week — two times in a row.

Haven’t these poor designers been challenged enough with all of the drama this season brought on? Between crazy twins to a double elimination week to two extra-rigorous, unconventional materials challenges, these designers should be allowed to showcase as they were promised.

But since the judges set up this preliminary round, the question still stands: Who deserves to make it to Fashion Week?

Designer Brandon is the most obvious choice, at least in the judges’ minds. However, Brandon’s very tight aesthetic leaves some viewers annoyed. The judges despise when other designers don’t push themselves, but love Brandon’s repetitive styling. Apparently, his taste and understanding of modern fashion make up for his redundancy.

Designer Kentaro is similar to his “brother” Brandon in that his styling is modern, but Kentaro’s distinct vision has been one of simplicity. He also almost always incorporates inspiration from his Japanese roots. Kentaro pulls off clean looks that transfer gracefully yet somehow sharply to the runway. Although the judges may gripe about his tendency to stick to a neutral color scheme, Kentaro’s aesthetic is strong and his design elements outshine such a minor transgression.

Designer Ayana shocked the audience mid-season. Ayana was usually in the middle of the pack when it came to scoring, but later pushed herself to be a real contender to judges’ pet Brandon. What’s most admirable about her work is that although she has modest preferences, she did not let them stop her from making loud statements on the runway. Ayana shows real promise; viewers are aching to see what she can do with more time to design and construct.

Designer Margarita and Designer Kenya, however, are underdogs. Mentor Tim Gunn used his Tim Gunn Save on Margarita, and Kenya is the only designer still standing to have not won a challenge. As the judges have complained, both have also failed to demonstrate a clear aesthetic. Still, these designers have proven their grit by working through creative roadblocks and designer drama. It will be interesting to see if one of these ladies can overtake the expected winners.

These designers make it hard to tell which ones will persist to Fashion Week, let alone who will win it all: the car, the trip to Japan, the $100,000 to launch their line, and of course the lifetime supply of pens. Although the competition is fierce and it is hard to watch fan favorites fall to their contenders, Season 16 of Project Runway has been a huge success. Audiences should feel lucky that this season’s designers are neck and neck; it is a sure sign that this season was legendary.