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YMMV: Project Runway
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: How some viewers thought of Gretchen's win, despite not liking her win. Where she had to be shredded into pieces by viewers when she was just taking advice from Michael & Nina to improve her collection.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • From Season 8: Was Michael Costello playing for the cameras for audience sympathy or was a genuinely misunderstood Nice Guy?
    • Anya from Season 9. Half of the viewers see her as the deserving and talented winner of her season, while other see her as an overpraised Manipulative Bitch who mostly wins thanks to the other competitors helping her at the workroom.
    • Sandhaya from Season 13. (Episode 5) After she collected money from the other contestants to buy some fabric in Mood (the only person to did that), some viewers wonder that her finding Tim to soothe her feelings in Episode 2 was genuine or calculating.
  • Awesome Music / Ear Worm:
  • Base Breaker: The designs from the contestants themselves, due to fashion opinions are extremely subjective in nature.
  • Big Name Fan: Tom and Lorenzo, creators of Tom+Lorenzo and Project Rungay.
  • Broken Base: A lot of things, like:
    • Between Leanne and Korto, who has the best collection in Season 5?
    • In Season 13, is Korina's decision to leave the workroom instead of helping Char bad because Korina missed a chance to redeem herself in everybody's eyes or good because Korina avoided a situation that might become ugly?
  • Consolation Award: Lots of people have alleged that Daniel Vosovic's win in the 2009 All-Stars competition was actually a consolation award for his second place finish during Season 2. It didn't help that he had just written a book with a foreword written by Tim Gunn and an interview with guest judge Diane von Furstenberg. On the other hand, Season 5's Korto repeatedly stated that she expected to win the all-star competition as a consolation award for finishing second in her season.
    • The Fan Favorite award functions as this as well, though, on two occasions, it was given to a designer who also won his or her season. (The award wasn't given for the eighth series, apparently because snubbing Mondo Guerra was very on-trend that season.)
  • Counterpart Comparison: A gay male Mexican-American designer with flawless construction skills and strong sense of personal style suffers crack defeats because the judges seem to favor far more controversial personalities? While Viktor Luna and Mondo Guerra are quite different as designers, and somewhat ironically shot themselves in the foot in exactly opposite ways during the finales of their respective seasons, the parallels between them haven't gone unnoticed.
    • In fact, it's popularly believed that Viktor was placed third specifically to avert comparisons to Mondo, whose second-place finish a season earlier enraged the audience.
  • Creator's Pet: Season 8 winner Gretchen Jones, Season 9 finalist Joshua M.
    • A better season 9 example is Anya. Many, many viewers predicted her win from day one. Rules have undeniably been bent for her, and garments that would have sent other designers home in a heartbeat didn't even land her in the bottom two. Heidi Klum even said during one judging that she wanted to see Anya win. The judges' weird little conversation, for the benefit of the audience, after making the decision not to eliminate Anya from the final four despite her self-admittedly terrible mini-collection. "Do you feel good about our decision?" "Yeah, I think we made the right choice."
    • Season 10's Christopher Palu has had this accusation leveled at him, and in the final episode of the season wound up being subverted, since he not only didn't win, he was the first of the final four eliminated and the judges did not mince their words at their disappointment in him.
    • Anthony Ryan in the All Stars 2 season. It's thought that the judges made him win most of the challenges to give him the prize, although there were more deserving wins for some of the challenges and Anthony's elimination in his original season was widely considered a Crack Defeat, so some viewers considered it Anthony being Vindicated by History. Recappers Tom and Lorenzo also predicted his win early on for this reason. To be fair, his final collection of 7 is actually decent despite having only 4 days......If you just don't compare it to (mostly) Uli's.
    • Patricia from Season 11, with Heidi even flat out admitting it. Ultimately does not get her the win due to Nina and Michael overruling Zac and Heidi.
    • Amanda for the first half from Season 13, she was given a huge share of airtime and was consistently praised by the judges week by week despite some of her designs not being the best.
      • To the second half, Char. Thanks to the Tim Gunn's save, she simply cannot be eliminated- no matter how her designs are mostly bad and boring.
  • Critical Dissonance: Fans and judges mostly disagreed on who had the strongest design, but a striking example occurred in Season 9. One of the most prominent Project Runway blogs holds a vote after every episode asking who the fans think should have won the challenge that week. Viktor Luna won this poll five times in a row, but the judges only named him the sole winner of one challenge all season. He also steamrolled the "Who deserved to win the whole season?" poll with 55% (compared with the actual winner, Anya, who received 22%).
    • The same blog also polls readers on "Who deserved to be auf'd?" every week. Josh M was picked four times but not only didn't get eliminated, he actually took second place for the entire season!
  • Elimination Houdini: Several, including Santino (Season 2), Blayne (Season 5), Christopher (Season 6), and Josh M (Season 9).
    • Wendy, bottom 6 times, managed to ride all the way to the finals despite lacking her POV and a manipulative attitude, though the judges didn't even bother to consider her collection when it came to choosing a winner.
      • To a lesser extent, Austin. Despite having 2 wins, other times he was either safe or in the bottom, as much as Wendy.
    • Anya, going into Fashion Week in Season 9. The last four designers all had to preview sample outfits from their final collections to determine which three would be contenders for the top prize. Anya's was clearly terrible in concept and execution (which she admitted herself). Instead of eliminating her, they put all four designers through.
    • Jeffrey in All-Stars 3 has been in the bottom three times in a row for creations the judges just loathe for either being over-thought or just plain unflattering, yet he has been safe each time, possibly just because he previously won Season 3. The third time, with the obvious worst outfit of the bunch (poorly constructed and having his model's breasts and bottom exposed), the judges actually decide to send no one home for no explained reason. He was finally auf'ed at the Marge Simpson challenge, after he won the previous challenge.
    • Season 13's Char Glover, her getting the "Tim Gunn Save" not really based on her designs up until that point, but just because she was the Nice Guy of the cast. Thereafter, she was mostly a middling performer because her technical skills, and knocks out fellow designers Alexander & Korina who both say outright Char no longer deserved to be there since she was already eliminated. Even more glaring, during the 'Real Women' challenge Char got an unprecedented extra ten minutes to complete her look at the behest of Tim Gunn so that her model would not be exposed and embarrassed, the other designers irritated that Char basically got two Tim Gunn Saves that she did not deserve.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Can arguably be a number of designers, but Tim Gunn, originally just an adviser for the designers, has become beloved by fans for his charm, kindness, and insight. And as of Season 8, his willingness to call somebody out on their Jerk Ass behavior. See Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • Dmitry of Season 10 was also this to a section of the fans, and in this case the dark horse won.
  • Executive Meddling: Widely offered for the reason why four finalists got to compete for the top prize in season 9. Anya's sample collection was poorly designed and poorly made, but she got put through anyway. Most people attribute this to her "story" making for better television.
    • This have been in play in the Bravo days. The show had experimented with not eliminating a contestant on the final challenge and letting four designers create collections.
      • The first time (season 3), all four were allowed to compete for the final prize. The second time around (season 4) four designers created collections, with the knowledge that the bottom two would have to compete against each other for the third spot. Either way, before season 5, winning the final challenge ensured a designer's place at Fashion Week.
      • The last challenge of Season 5 did not feature an elimination and was won by Jerell Scott (who while had a strong run during late season, he tends to often walked the line between Pimped-Out Dress and Impossibly Tacky Clothes). However, this time, all four designers were subjected to another surprise challenge, during which Jerell was eliminated.
    • Michael Costello, who won season 8's last challenge, lost a spot at Fashion Week under the same circumstances. Beginning with Costello's season, the show has been notably vague about naming the last challenge's best-performing designer a "winner" onscreen, possibly to leave the door open for the inclusion of designers with better "stories" or to prevent the ascent of an Elimination Houdini (season 1's Wendy Pepper being the most notable example).
  • Foe Yay: Quite a few viewers see this between Gunner and Chris of Season 10. As reviewers Tom and Lorenzo called them:
    [They are] two hissing mirror-image queens who desperately need to fuck so they can shut up about hating each other.
    As for Christopher and Gunnar, clearly, Sonjia grabbed them both by their neckbeards and hissed ďGo suck each other off in the menís room if you have to, but I am NOT having you two bitchy white boys with crazy hair fuck up this challenge for me!Ē Itís the only explanation that made any sense.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With RuPaul's Drag Race, due to a significant overlap in viewership and both shows featuring a large number of LGBT contestants, plus Santino Rice first came to prominence on this show and several guest judges have appeared on both shows.
  • Interface Spoiler: When Fashion Week arrive and all the contestants show their collection, notice the order of the collection shown. When the collection is shown at the later phase, the chances are that the contestant may be a finalist.
  • Iron Woobie: Anthony Ryan, despite his Keet behavior, hasn't had the easiest life, and in fact survived testicular cancer and as a result only has one testicle. The initial judges were also very impressed when he revealed that he was actually colorblind, which they considered especially extraordinary considering that they wouldn't have guessed unless they told him given the quality of the colors he chooses.
  • It's Short, so It Sucks : When the show decided that the contestants have to create an outfit (Which includes gowns, red carpet dresses and pants) in 1 day, because it will strongly reduce the quality of the design made by all contestants bar ones with exceptional sewing skills.
    • The later seasons have been criticized of doing this a lot more, which resulted in more this the judges can bitch at and, therefore, a very boring and uninteresting runway, compared to more fascinating results in the first 5 seasons.
    • In some countries, it can be worse. Notably in the Israel edition, where the winner admitted that in some challenges they had to do a gown in 6 hours, and a swimwear in 3 hours.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Both Joshua M and Bert of Season 9 wound up here for some viewers when they talked a bit more about their lives, Joshua by revealing that his mother had died and he hasn't been able to say goodbye to her, and Bert by revealing that he'd lost his partner to AIDS and was a recovering alcoholic. It didn't excuse any of their behavior, but it did make it more obvious what made them tick.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Blood orange. She's so pretentious. Shut up, It's fucking red."
    • From Season 1: "I didn't take the bitch's dye!!"
    • From Season 2: "WHERE THE HELL IS MY CHIFFON?!!"note 
  • Misblamed:
    • Type 1 shows up whenever a designer blames the model for a garment's shortcomings.
    • Type 5 showed up in Season 8 when Team Luxe attempted to place the blame for the failure of its line squarely on Michael C.'s shoulders.
    • Fans towards other winners who won over fan favorites when it was the judges who makes the call.
  • Never Live It Down: Happened to many of the show's Designated Villains.
    • Wendy from Season 1. Even today people still remember her as the Manipulative Bitch. Even she tried to redeem herself in the All-Stars 2.
      • Kara Saun from the same season. Shoegate, nuff said.
    • Santino from Season 2 in a minor level. During the reunion and the Finale, all of the other designers still remembered Santino's constant smack-talk. Thought Chloe and Daniel V. eventually have forgiven him and people still like his funny side, it's still the most outstanding thing from the season.
    • From Season 3, we have a lot:
      • Keith having pattern books. Even during the reunion show, the others were quick to call him out, especially Heidi.
      • Jeffrey being a Jerkass to Angela's mom.
      • Vincent's overall behaviour during the show. The most prominent being the moment when he yelled at a producer because of his laundry.
    • Kenley from Season 5. She got into everyone's nerve for having an Annoying Laugh, being a Jerkass and being attitudinal to everyone.
      • Out of the show, she's now known as "The Cat Thrower" for throwing a cat to her ex-boyfriend.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Bert of Season 9. As the season went on he relaxed, became better friends with some of his competitors, started telling sly jokes about his time at Studio 54, and eventually evolved into Cool Old Guy status. By the time of his elimination, significant portions of the fandom were enraged that he was auf'ed before Laura or Josh M.
    • And the second All Stars season seems to be doing this to Joshua M. He's far less of a Jerkass and is shown being friendly to his season mates.
      • Same can be said about Ivy, who decided to be The Atoner this time around, specially when she headbutted with Laura.
  • Seasonal Rot: The less said about Los Ang-What're you talking about? They've never done a season in Los Angeles! Lies!
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Season 1, many had to agree with Wendy regarding Kara Saun cheating in the finale.
    • Korina in Season 13 points out that one particular outfit does not allow the model to move- and the producers were giving her the villain edit due to this. Granted, some of Korina's other comments may have been less than kind. BUT an outfit should allow the model to walk in it without risking falling down with every step.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Bound to happen whenever a particularly hated designer gets put through a Humiliation Conga, especially if it results in their elimination.
  • Tear Jerker: You couldn't help but shed a tear when Mondo, who was so secretive about the inspiration for his pattern, revealed that he was HIV+ on the judging floor. He had carried this secret for 10 years and never told anybody Basically, that whole episode (Season 8-10) was the biggest tearjerker so far in the history of the show.
    • Daniel Franco refusing to throw his teammates under the bus and honorably offering himself up for elimination during the second season's team lingerie challenge.
    • Bert of Season 9 revealed that he'd lost his partners to AIDS and was a recovering alcoholic definitely helped soften his image, and after that he seemed to open up more to the other designers.
    • Joshua M, who had been and even after continued to be a Jerk Ass, talking about being unable to see his mother when she was dying and unexpectedly breaking down during a Confession Cam interview. You realize his mother's been dead for two years while he's sobbing like it was last week. After his Jerk Ass behavior in that episode and the previous one, more cynical viewers saw the tears as a plea for sympathy.
    • Everyone was in tears when Justin was about to be sent home in season 12, including Tim Gunn. This turned to Tears of Joy when Tim decided to use his save to allow Justin to stay.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • All-Stars seasons subverted this. Georgina, Izaac and Joanna were good replacements for Nina, Michael and Tim, but Angela and Carolyn weren't as entertaining as Heidi.
    • The Spin-Off Project Accesory (only lasted one season), Models Of The Runway (lasted 2 seasons), Under The Gunn (disliked by most viewers)..
  • The Scrappy: Several, including Angela (Season 3), Gretchen and Ivy (season 8)
    • Wendy in Season 1, she was disliked due to her throwing her teammates under the bus, using tactics over focusing on designing (which was questionable in a Talent Show) and was chosen in the finale over Austin (who was a fan favourite). Still, she was not really a bad fashion designer, just a dressmaker who was lacking in innovation.
    • Vincent gave Angela good competition for that title in that season, with the biggest being ranting at a cameramen for an unfinished bed.
    • Kenley in Season 5, had a laugh that was considered annoying to everyone and her design skills are more inclined in skills than innovation. What seals the deal for her is in the "Inspired By The Nature" challenge, where when she was in the bottom she acted extremely defensive to the judges criticism and alienated everybody.
    • Season 7 also had this reaction from the fans against Jesse, because he argued with his team partner Ping about her choices as Team Leader and made her cry... When he was clearly on the right this time, she was being closed minded with the direction. He only got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap when he got eliminated, and all his Hate Dumb base migrated to Emilio instead.
    • Olivier seems to be hated as much as he's loved, especially after his Freak Out over having to design clothing for real women with BOOBS and complaints about not working with models and instead with "fat people", not to mention people who dislike his accent and think he's faking it. At least one blogger's referred to him as "the personification of the color beige" and was all too happy when he was eliminated.
    • Joshua M, and his behavior during the After the Runway solidified it, in part because he managed to be a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad with his insulted reaction to being called out for his Jerkass behavior.
    • Ven, due to his behavior of him constantly complaining about the fact that his client was plus sized and didn't seem to get why his behavior was a problem (to the point of making her cry) not to mention being rather hypocritical since he's not exactly a model sized guy himself. It was made worse when, after the episode ended, Ven went on to his twitter account and continued speaking badly of his client, and even accused Project Runway producers of editing the show to try to make him look bad.
    • All Stars 2 season, Laura Kathleen's behaviour (mostly flaunting how she rich she was) made it to the point that she was hated even more then Joshua M., whose entry further up the page can attest to the level of hatred he earned in their original season.
    • Timothy in season 12 barrels towards this at breakneck speed from the first two episodes alone due to his holier-than-thou "eco friendly" platform, which he never shuts up about despite the fact that the judges have rightly pummeled him for Completely Missing the Point of the show in general and being a massive Hypocrite for doing things like forcing his model to go barefoot while he wears sparkly (women's) shoes on the runway next to her. Compare and contrast with Gretchen, who was also a sustainable designer and still managed to produce great work when she wants to and never tried to push "sustainable design" or anything.
    • Ken of season 12 also seems to have landed her for a lot of viewers. Tellingly, an article on an online news site for his home town did a poll about what people thought of him, 61% (at the time of this writing) selected "He's rude, obnoxious and dismissive of other designers" and 24% selected "he needs to go home." Ouch.
      • Also in a minor scale Helen, who mostly did the same dress over and over, stirred up drama (in many occations she provoked Ken and Sandro), cried and complained a lot. Also not helped that her tweets towards recappers Tom and Lorenzo were outright immature and obnoxious.
    • Korina has been dubbed the "Mean Girl" of Season 13, many fans bashing her for her bad attitude and instinct (Most prominent in Heidi's challenge). This gets worse when she exploded when she had to face against Char for a 1 hour sew-off in her final episode, who she deemed inferior since Char got the Tim Gunn save previously, and lost against Char. When she's brought back days later as an assistant to none other than Char, she looks pissed and admitted that she wouldn't be any help to Char before excusing herself and leaving. At this point, even the other competitors have called her out on acting like a crybaby.
      • To a lesser extent, Char, which is sad since she was very likable. This is due to speculation that she was saved by Tim Gunn for being the Nice Guy of the season, and not for her talent. That, and the fact that despite being inexperienced with sewing and making poor design choices, she just seems immune from being eliminated less the judges admit that Tim Gunn was actually wrong in saving her.
  • Vindicated by History: Is a show about fashion, of course trends come and go.
    • April (Season 8) was raked over the coals by the judges for daring to show a "panty" short with a Phillip Treacy hat; fast forward to Resort 2011 — a half dozen designers showed similar panty shorts for Fashion Week.
    • Also, Ben from Season 7 with his "jock strap front" trousers.
    • Alison from season 3 was roundly criticized for styling her model's hair into the shape of a bow. Fast forward a few years, a famously fashionable pop star wears the same look and influences other famous women.
    • Nina Garcia to Santino in the "give a competitor a makeover" challenge from Season 2: "Who wears jumpsuits anymore?" Jump to 2009 and suddenly they're a big trend.
      • Not only a big trend, but when Gretchen sent one (in drab, depressing navy blue) for the Macy's challenge, in a cut that wouldn't be flattering to anyone, guess who won that challenge? Then again, it did look great on a billboard.
  • Wangst: The more you don't like a designer, the more likely you are to view their occasional breakdowns and drama as this.
  • What Might Have Been: Maya not dropping out in Season 7.
  • What The Hell, Judges?: The judges crowing the win to Jeffrey (Season 3) and Gretchen (Season 8).
  • The Woobie: As of Week 5, Michael Costello for season 8, for some.
    • Mondo, see Tearjerker.
    • Korto Mormolu, being so close to winning a season, THRICE

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