What is 'Project Runway'?:
Project Runway is a fashion competition that pits amateur designers against each other to create fashionable clothing with little time or money.
Project Runway originally aired on Bravo (from 2004 to 2008). Then the show's producers, Weinstein Company, won the legal right to relocate to the Lifetime channel (where it has been since 2009).
Since it first aired Project Runway has won multiple awards, inspired numerous spin-offs and local versions to take off in 18 countries around the world.
How Does 'Project Runway' Work?:
On Project Runway 12 or more fashion designers compete in weekly challenges that require they utilize unusual materials (like from a party store or grocery), please a celebrity client or meet certain themes. The designers are generally given thirty minutes to sketch their designs, $300 dollars to spend at the fabric store Mood and 24 hours to complete their creations.
Every week one contestant is declared the winner and another one is eliminated. When the field has been reduced to three finalists, the designers are sent home and given 12 weeks and $8,000 to complete an entire collection. Tim Gunn visits each designer mid-way through this break and evaluates the work, often providing critical guidance.
When the three remaining designers return, they are given one last challenge, then show the judges three or four looks from their collections. The judges eliminate one more designer, then the final two show their 12-piece collections at New York Fashion Week, before the judges make a final determination.
The ninth season mixed the format up by bringing in 20 designers who auditioned in front of Gunn and the judges for 16 spots. Those contestants completed a challenge before four more were eliminated.
What Does the Winner of 'Project Runway' win?:
The winner of Project Runway wins $100,000 from L'Oréal Paris to start their own line, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine and the chance to create an exclusive collection for Piperlime.com. In the past, winners also won a new car.
The model paired with the winning designer also wins--at one point receiving a modeling contract, but later getting $25,000 from L'Oréal Studio Secrets Professional.
Who Hosts 'Project Runway'?:
Project Runway is hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum. Klum also acts as one of the judges, evaluating the runway collections and kissing the eliminated designer "Auf Wiedersehen."
Who are the 'Project Runway' Judges?:
In addition to Heidi Klum, Project Runway is judged by:
- Michael Kors: Since 1981 the fashion mogul's collection has grown to include sportswear, accessories, housewares, menswear and women's ready-to-wear.
- Nina Garcia: Fashion Director at Marie Claire magazine, Garcia is also a New York Times bestselling author of four books including Nina Garcia’s Look Book.
- Guest Judges: Each week there's also a guest judge, usually a fashion designer (like Vera Wang and Betsey Johnson), a celebrity (Sarah Jessica Parker and Christina Aguilera), or someone related to the week's challenge (Ivanka Trump and Rachel Zoe).
Who is the 'Project Runway' Mentor?:
Tim Gunn serves as the mentor on Project Runway. He offers advice and support for the designers and always adds, "Make it work." Before Project Runway made Gunn famous, he was a professor at Parsons School of Design for over two decades. Then the women's apparel company, Liz Claiborne, created a job for him, recruiting Gunn to be their Chief Creative Officer, where he attracts and mentors Liz Claiborne's "creative talent" (aka designers).
In addition to appearing on numerous television shows (often as himself) Gunn starred in Bravo's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style and is an expert on ABC's The Revolution, a daytime talk/makeover show that premiered January 2012.
Who Produces 'Project Runway'?:
Project Runway was created by and is produced by Heidi Klum, Desiree Gruber, Jane Cha Cutler and Harvey Weinstein. It is distributed by Miramax Television, The Weinstein Company Television, NBC Universal Television and Fremantle Media.
When Does 'Project Runway' air?:
Project Runway airs on Lifetime Thursday nights at 9 PM Eastern, during the summer season.