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Project Runway

(Season 16, Episode 1/Lifetime Network)

 

Aspiring fashion designers enter season 16 with the challenge of creating a red carpet look that represents their design aesthetic.

 

Starring: Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum

Genre: Reality Television; Competition Show

Series Summary: Designers compete in a series of themed fashion challenges that restrict their time and materials.

Show Title: One Size Does Not Fit All

 

Viewer Appeal: Ages 12+

 

It’s no secret that I love competition shows, but there’s only one show that I, no joke, am willing to watch an entire series in one day. Which show instantly transforms me into a couch potato? Project Runway. I love that it gets my creative juices flowing, inspires me to start designing my own clothes, and helps me to live in denial that I couldn’t sew a napkin if I tried. Nonetheless, I was excited to see “Project Runway” coming back for it’s 16th season this fall.

 

When you get to season 16 of a show, there’s not a whole lot it can do to surprise you anymore. It was going to take a lot to make me impressed by Project Runway this year. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I would’ve watched the show no matter what, but I just thought it’d be the same old same old. But boy, I was wrong!

 

Sixteen designers enter Project Runway and only one will leave with the title of “the next great American designer.” Judges include American-German supermodel, Heidi Klum, fashion designer Zac Posen, Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia and a rotating celebrity guest judge. Tim Gunn once again returns to mentor the designers from the workroom to the runway. But for the first time in the history of this series, designers are continually working with models of varying body shapes and sizes. There are women from size 0 to size 22, and all are celebrated as beautiful.

 

There’s so much to love about the premiere of season 16. First, the variety in model shapes and sizes is such a wonderful way to promote healthy body image! Also, I love that the designers represent a wide variety of backgrounds. You’ve got people in their 20s and people in their 50s. You’ve got a healthy mix of race, gender, and religion. You’ve got people who’ve never designed women’s wear and you’ve got college professors. And huge bonus: one designer is on a mission to promote the idea that modesty can be trendy, fashionable, and fierce.

 

The only thing that I have a love-hate relationship with is all the standard competition show theatrics: whiny contestants, people talking badly behind people’s backs, and overly dramatic responses to mundane situations. Another downer, though, is that some of the designers don’t understand how to speak about plus-size models and have attitudes about women’s bodies that teeter on condemning. But, I do think this is a real life representation of some people’s view on women’s bodies, and I’m proud that the other designers and judges step in and clarify that all women are beautiful, no matter their shape or size.

 

Parents, this is a series you’ll want to check out before giving your preteens/teens free rein over the remote. Given the nature of this show, there’s some swearing (pretty well bleeped out), references to homosexual lifestyles, and some less than modest outfits. But if your teenage is developing an interest in fashion or is particularly creative, this show can be a great inspiration! 

 

Let's Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this TV show:

 

• How would you describe your fashion style? What does that style say about you?

• Do you consider modesty before selecting an outfit? Can dressing modestly still be fashionable?

• This season of Project Runway features models of all sizes. Do you think the movement of body positivity, no matter your shape, will carry over to the fashion industry?

 

--LV

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