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Series / Project Runway

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Make it work!
-Tim Gunn

Project Runway is a fashion design Reality Show hosted by Heidi Klum, originally on Bravo but now airing on Lifetime "in search of the next great fashion designer." Twelve to sixteen or so designers compete in weekly design challenges, and in each episode, one designer is knocked off until reaching the final three (or four, in two seasons). These last three then get $8000 and twelve weeks to go home and make a twelve-piece collection, which they then show at Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week. After this, the winner is selected and receives prizes that vary from season to season, but always include $100,000 to help kickstart their own line.


The challenges are very diverse, testing different aspects of a designer's aesthetic and abilities. There is usually one challenge featuring unusual materials — such as plants, edibles, apartment furnishings, and recycled goods — per season. Occasionally, the designers must create an outfit for a celebrity (or quasi-celebrity), including Miss USA Tara O'Connor, actress Brooke Shields, entertainment reporter Nancy O'Dell, and figure skater Sasha Cohen. Most of the other challenges fall into one of three categories: provide new pieces for an already existing line (like Sarah Jessica Parker's "Bitten" or Diane von Furstenberg), work around a given theme (such as bridal, cocktail, or prom), or "Inspiration" basically either sending the designers out with cameras or assigning them a style icon, and having that be the inspiration for their designs.


Each challenge lasts 1-2 days; the first two-thirds of the show show the behind-the-scenes work the actual construction, the catfights and visits by Tim Gunn, who is unbelievably badass awesome. The latter third of the show is devoted to the runway show. Host Heidi Klum, designer Michael Kors, and fashion magazine editor Nina Garcia make up the panel of regular judges, and there is typically a guest judge each week, generally a celebrity, designer, or fashion insider. The judges deem six (until there are six or fewer contestants left) designers "their favorites and least favorites" and question them more closely about their design. In the end, there is one winner and one designer gets sent home, with an "Auf Wiedersehen" and cheek-kiss from Heidi.

The show has had sixteen seasons and four All Stars seasons made of eliminated designers from other seasons. Previous winners are Jay McCarroll, Chloe Dao, Jeffrey Sebelia, Christian Siriano, Leanne Marshall, Irina Shabayeva, Seth Aaron Henderson, Gretchen Jones, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Dmitry Sholokhov, Michelle Lesniak Franklin and Dom Streater. Mondo Guerra won the first All Stars season, while Anthony Ryan Auld won the second, Seth Aaron Henderson won the third, and Dmitry Sholokhov won the fourth.


This show provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative: The judges, especially when judging the last challenge to amplify the drama going into the finals.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Happens sometimes.
  • Author Appeal: Sometimes designers will design clothes that will resemble them.
    • April Johnston more often than not sent her models down the runway in architectural black clothes with messy buns and dark makeup...similar to how she dressed and styled herself,possibly bordering Author Avatar, remarked upon once or twice by the judges.
    • Althea Harper from Season 6 also styled her models' hair in a bun and with a headband- just like her own!
    • And Joshua M from Season 9 had this memorable exchange with Tim Gunn:
      Tim Gunn: [The zipper on these men's pants]... it really draws your eye to the crotch.
      Josh M: Right. [smiles]
    • Josh M. might be the first male designer to blatantly tell the hair and makeup stylists to make his model look like him.
    • Tim Gunn also offered this as the reason why both Michael Kors and Nina Garcia broke for Gretchen to win Season 8.
      “Oh, boy. I’m going to get in trouble for this. Michael [Kors] was campaigning for Gretchen. He said, ‘We need a sportswear designer to win one of these seasons.’ “I thought, ‘Well, Mr. Kors, you just want to validate yourself. But do you want to validate yourself with Gretchen?’ I wouldn't. Nina [Garcia] was very much in favor of Mondo, and then Michael nudges her and he says, ‘You know, Gretchen listened to every word of advice that you gave her. Mondo didn't listen to you at all.’ So suddenly, Nina is, like ‘That’s right! He didn’t! I’m going with Gretchen.’ So that’s how it all happened.”
    • In Kenley's final collection in Season 5, most (if not all) of the models wore feather hair accessories, like the ones she wore throughout the season.
    • Ashley's final collection in Season 14, which featured designs focused on plus-sized women was very obviously near and dear to her heart (as a plus-sized woman herself who has struggled with her own self-image and self-esteem).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A majority of the garments from the unconventional materials challenges tend to fall into this. While they're breathtakingly awesome, trying to translate them to reality wouldn't work as such. Of special note goes to Nathan in Season 10, who wound up making a beautiful bubble skirt from chocolate, only for the skirt alone to weigh 20 pounds (compared to the rest of his garment and the other contestants, which were actually fairly light). This is also considering that quite a few of the materials used have been things like paper, grass/natural products, furnishings and things from a 99c store.
    • Invoked in-universe when describing any Avant Garde challenge, Tim will advise the designers that their creations don't have to be practical, in fact they don't even have to be all that realistically wearable, they just have to be fashion-forward and completely unexpected.
    • This is arguably one of the reasons Chris March was eliminated right before the Season 4 finale, although his runway collection was more interesting than fellow contestant Rami Kashou's, it incorporated rather bizarre materials like safety pins and human hair! While quite edgy and avant garde, it was not a commercially-realistic collection.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: "Gunnar Deatherage" from Season 10.
  • Big Applesauce: Where the show takes place.
  • Bilingual Bonus: During Season 3's challenge where the designers had to design an outfit for the selected designer's mom, Heidi and Uli's mother conversed in German, Heidi asking her if she liked the dress.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Many of the designers with particularly eccentric personalities are written off only to end up winning challenges and lasting longer than anyone expected. For example, Season 14's Merline annoyed everyone in the workroom by singing the words "make it work" over and over, speaking in hashtags, and had to be corrected by Tim Gunn over pronouncing muslin as Muslim. She made it to the top five and had some of the strongest designs of the season.
  • Buxom Is Better: Inverted. When the designers have to design clothes for regular women instead of models several of them freak out over having to design around BOOBS, Olivier in particular.
  • Camp Gay: It's a show about fashion designers. It's honestly easier to count the straight people, especially the straight men.
  • Catch-Phrase:
    • Tim Gunn has a number of them. Though out of them, "Make it work!" is most well-known. Christian Siriano also had a habit of describing things he liked as "fierce" and things he disliked as a "hot tranny mess" (which would get him into a spot of trouble with some LGBT groups)
    • Heidi, before the runway shows: "As you know: in fashion, one week you're in, the next week you're out".
    • Season 5's Blayne tried his damnedest to make his ever present "-licious" suffix into one of these.
    • Season 9's Viktor: "Oh my Lord of the Rings."
  • Cheaters Never Prosper:
    • Kara Saun, arguably the first season's favorite, called in a couple of favors from a friend in preparation for the finale. Guess what happened?
    • Season 3 saw Keith eliminated for having illegal pattern books and Jeffrey facing accusations of cheating while creating his final collection. However, Jeffrey's didn't stick, as his misstep was going over his given budget (and it wasn't a large amount).
  • Clock Punk: Was attempted in Season 9 by Team Nuts and Bolts. It was not well received.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • The show portrayed Elisa (season 4) as one of these. One of her quirks was that she'd spit on her fabric before sewing. Ping from season 7 also qualifies.
    • The judges in season 8, according to Tim Gunn in his video blog; he called them 'crack-smoking judges'.
    • Guadalupe from season 2 combined this with Jerk Ass.
    • Austin Scarlett from Season 1, to the point that he makes Santino of all people look like the Only Sane Man in their show together.
    • Casanova of Season 8 alternated between this and Only Sane Man.
    • Also Kooan Kosuke from season 10.
  • Color Blind Confusion: On season 9 Anthony Ryan Auld, a fashion designer featured as a contestant, is color blind, and talks about it during his audition video and during the season, explaining that he both can't see some colors and perceives others differently and has both red-green and blue-yellow colorblindness. Also qualifies as Deaf Composer since the judges would frequently laud his color choices on garments and acknowledge that they weren't sure how they looked to him but they found them praiseworthy. On a few occasions he's also shown consulting with other designers about whether two colors match and/or look good together.
  • Completely Missing the Point:
    • One extreme moment occurred in season 8, when Gretchen was receiving some negative feedback from the judges. When she was declared safe, Heidi warned her that constructive criticism was not her enemy. But when she went to the back room to tell the others what happened on the runway, she said that Heidi 'Hated everything she did' and that her words weren't constructive criticism but full on trashing.
    • Anyone who makes a beeline for the most fabric-like textiles during unconventional materials challenges. In later seasons, Heidi and Tim have specifically warned the designers against doing this, though some competitors still ignore their advice. See Reality Show Genre Blindness. This causes Tim to go on a spectacular rant in season 12 when he sees one designer falling into this, and sure enough it's the first thing the judges notice.
    • Alexandria in season 12 creates a pair of pants for the athletic wear challenge that she claims you can do yoga in — even though they're drop crotch pants. Michael Kors practically facepalms when she says this and points out that there's no way you'd be able to do that in that type of garment.
  • Confession Cam
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Austin Scarlett and Mondo Guerra being among the competitors in All-Stars. They regularly place in the top three.
  • Cosmetic Award: True of any win after elimination immunity is no longer awarded, unless that particular challenge includes a specific prize of its own.
  • Costume Porn: The show revolves around it.
    • Many a straight man has commented on the outstanding quality of Tim Gunn's suits, too.
    • Mondo Guerra once managed to upstage his own model with the particularly creative outfit he himself was wearing.
  • Curtain Clothing: Part of an unusual materials challenge
  • Cuteness Proximity: Everyone, including (and especially) the judges get a severe case of this when working with babies in Season 10 episode 11, including designers who are usually fairly stoic.
  • Death Glare:
    • Kors and Garcia occasionally do this when a particularly atrocious outfit comes down the runway.
    • Dmitry pulls a nasty one in episode 9 while the judges are praising Sonjia's look. It quickly disappears when he is named the winner of the challenge.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Happens when a contestant decides to go for an overly ambitious design, especially if said design incorporates techniques the contestant has never attempted before. The results can either end up stunning (especially once the contestant reveals this was their first time trying this) or an Epic Fail, which usually leads to their elimination.
  • Dirty Old Woman: The clients in season 11 episode 5 are an entire group of these, including one who implores Kate to "be a slut!" and another who gooses Stanley. For bonus points they get Joan Rivers as one of the judges for that episode and she's her usual raunchy self through the entire thing.
  • Dresses the Same: With the number of designers and challenges, it sometimes becomes unavoidable that two contestants pick similar (or even the same) fabric and may have a similar idea in their designs, which ultimately comes down to 'who executed their vision better' on the runway. There are other times this trope is actively averted when designers realize someone else is buying the same fabric at Mood or is constructing a similar garment and will quickly change their looks on the fly.
    • During the Season 3 finale, both Mychael Knight and Uli end up creating extremely similar collections, both based on the idea of an urban-style use of African tribal prints and accessories.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: A lot of them have this going on at some point.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "You're out. Auf Wiedersehen."
  • Epic Fail: Episode 8 of season 11 has the designers make new outfits for the "Thunder Down Under" troupe of male dancers, but the results are so bad that the judges do not declare a winner, and this is the first time this has ever happened on the show.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • While everyone stood gaping at Daniel Franco, when he returned in the first episode of Season 2, Chloe immediately stepped forward and gave him a big hug. She remained a class-act during the entire Season, and then into Season 3, when she spoke up to give Mychael Knight the benefit of the doubt.
    • Season One's Wendy Pepper received two of these. Upon meeting her competitors, she portrayed herself as the Team Mom, spouting off warm, fuzzy platitudes about self-care and togetherness. In one of her first Confession Cam appearances, she admitted her intent to use her team mom status to manipulate her peers because This Is a Competition and she wasn't there to make friends.
    • Season 9's Laura Kathleen Planck, upon hearing Bert and Olivier conversing in Italian: "Are you guys speaking foreign?" This would later set up her portrayal as a bit of a Rich Bitch, although as with the Jeffrey and Santino examples below, it's been suggested she or the editing deliberately played up this angle for television.
  • Fashion Show
  • Follow the Leader: Some designers might be prone to unconsciously designs clothes that are derived from major Fashion Houses in the show.
  • Foreign Fanservice: The "Thunder Down Under" dance troupe is a group of extremely muscular men, all from Australia.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Averted for All-Stars 3, where we have 11 contestants: 6 men, 5 women (one of whom was Transgender).
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Big sleeves show up in designs from time to time, but this design by Kenley from Season 5 is an especially good example.
  • Giftedly Bad: There are occasional accusations of this coming from both fans and designers. It's usually a point of friction and drama in the workroom.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Acknowledged in-show with the mantra "It's Project Runway, not Project Seamstress!" - you can work your fingers to the bone tailoring a garment, but that doesn't automatically make it fashion.
    • Viktor Luna of Season 9 has been hit hard with this trope. Several episodes in a row, the judges have praised his workhorse ability to create multiple well-tailored garments in the same amount of time it takes his competitors to cobble together one dress... right before they hand the win to somebody else.
    • Becky Ross of Season 9, attempting to defend an auf-worthy outfit, told the judges she had made and re-made the skirt three times in an attempt to work with the ugly prints her team was stuck with. Michael Kors informed her that if the skirt was so simple she could remake it three times, there was no design in it.
    • Dmitry Sholokhov of Season 10. The judges have said that he might have the best sewing skills of the lot, and his pieces are always impeccable - but the judges just about always find something else more exciting. And then in the finale it's subverted when he wins the entire season precisely because of his attention to detail and precision.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Mondo Guerra straightforwardly admitting "I was kind of a dick" about Michael Costello, after which they genuinely became friends for the rest of the season. This was in particular contrast to the rest of the designers continuing to gang up on Michael.
    • Season 10's Elena offered an apology for her often caustic interactions with the other designers just in time for her elimination one episode later.
  • Heroic Build: The guys from the "Thunder Down Under" dancing troupe all have this body type, which causes problems when the designers, most of whom are used to working with people who are both models and women, have to make clothes that fit them. One designer even comments that these guys' thighs are as large as most of their usual models' waists.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Most of the contestants were prone to this when entering the final stages of the show.
  • Hidden Depths: Often revealed when Tim Gunn makes his traditional home visit to the final three/four designers.
  • Hide Your Lesbians:
    • Zulema Griffin. This case is particularly noteworthy because otherwise the show massively averts Hide Your Gays; it's extremely common for male designers to call, Skype or sometimes introduce in person their boyfriends/husbands.
    • Subverted in season 10 with Alicia, where her home video presents her girlfriend.
  • Hipster: Too many contestants to list
  • Hopeless Auditionees: Though it's not relied upon as extensively as in most talent shows.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Dirty Diana from Season 2.
    • "Morganza", model Morgan Quinn from Season 1.
    • "Meana Irina" from Season 6.
  • Keet:
    • Anthony Ryan of Season 9, especially evident in this video.
    • Also Gunnar of Season 10.
  • Mala Proper / Blunt Metaphors Trauma : Dmitry saying that Ven is a "one-way monkey" when he meant "one-trick pony".
  • Manipulative Editing: Duh!
  • Mondegreen: A fashion spread in Mary Clair magazine
  • Men Don't Cry: Enthusiastically averted by Season 4's Ricky Lizalde, who cried in just about every episode (except, ironically, the one when he is eliminated) and Season 8's Michael Costello, not to mention Season 2's Andrae Gonzalo.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Project Runway: All-Stars. Most of the contestants that season subverted this, though. Except the final three.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Tim Gunn of course. Also, Rami Kashou from Season 4.
    • Also Seth Aaron Henderson from Season 7, who may have looked badass and rebellious at first, but turned out to be extremely nice and likable — not to mention very family-oriented.
    • Anthony Ryan Auld of Season 9 was a fan favorite for this reason, since he even got along with Joshua M and gave Anya $11 that he had leftover when she lost her money envelope in Mood. This continued up to and including his elimination where he remained gracious and positive.
    • Guest judge Elie Tahari from All Stars Season 2.
  • Nice Hat: Frequently. The designers also tend to bring their own impressive headgear from home.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: Keith from season 3, Jack from season 4, Maya from season 7, and Cecilia from season 9, Andrea and Kooan from Season 10, Jake from Season 14, Claire from Season 16, not to mention many of the models.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: Episode 8 of season 11 has the designers make outfits for a group of male dancers who literally rip their clothes off as part of their act. Despite this the word "stripper" is never uttered.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The universal reaction among the designers whenever the dreaded Button Bag makes an appearance.
    • A common reaction during All Stars seasons to the arrival of Nina Garcia as a guest judge. She celebrates excellent work, but she will not pull her punches when pointing out mistakes. Especially because of her high expectations of All Stars designers.
  • One Judge to Rule Them All: Ostensibly averted, but Nina Garcia is widely regarded as the key to the judging panel (Since one of the prizes is a magazine spread that's worked by her). It's definitely not Heidi, as evidenced by her passionate but ultimately futile advocacy for Mondo Guerra to win Season 8.
  • One-Liner:
    • "I didn't take the bitch's dye!" (Jay in Season 1).
    • "Where the hell is my chiffon?!" Season 2. Though nobody was sure who said it, the bets were on Andrae.
    • "Where's Andrae?": How Santino would start out in order to get in-character for his Tim Gunn impressions.
    • Shatangi to her crying partner Kara on Season 2: "I don't care if you got to cry and cut, but you got to cry and CUT!"
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Overall the series had Christopher Strauss (season 6), Christopher Collins (season 8) and Christopher Palu (season 10).
    • Also Anthony Williams (season 7) and Anthony Ryan Auld (season 9)
    • Season 2 had Daniel Vosovic and Daniel Franco (seasons 1 and 2), and overall if we also count Daniel Feld (season 5)
    • Season 8 had Michael Costello and Michael Drummond, in addition to Season 3's Mychael Knight
    • Season 9 had Joshua Christensen and Joshua McKinley
    • Season 1 Jay McCarroll and Season 7 Jay Nicholas Sario.
    • Season 3 Laura Bennet and Season 9 Laura Kathleen.
    • Season 3 Keith Michael and Season 5 Keith Bryce.
    • Season 1 Kevin Johnn and Season 4 Kevin Christiana.
    • Season 1's Robert Plotkin and Season 3's Robert Best
    • Season 1's Kara Saun (who was referred to on a Full-Name Basis) and Season 2's Kara Janx
    • Season 6's Nicolas Putvinski and Season 7's Nicholas D'Aurizio
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Tim Gunn. Come on. In a show where the designers are steeped in drama and the judges eating more and more slices of Jerk Ass Cake, Tim Gunn is our rock.
    • Casanova was turning into one for Season 8. Until he got the boot, of course.
    • Mychael Knight from Season 3, who refused to get dragged into the backbiting that went on in the middle of the season. Laura Bennett also qualifies.
    • Kimberly Goldson in Season 9, perhaps most notably when she was on the extremely dysfunctional "Team Nuts & Bolts," and basically decided to make the dress she felt like making rather than engage with her teammates' interpersonal drama.
    • April Johnson in Season 8, stating that she felt like she was surrounded by idiots.
    • Alicia Hardesty in episode 8 of Season 10, trapped in the middle of Dmitry Sholokhov and Elena Slivnyak, who despise each other and proceed to bitch for the entire episode. Alicia pays for it. Oddly enough, Dmitry played the Only Sane Man in a previous group challenge.
    • Isaac Mizrahi in All Stars Season 4 episode involving transforming manly materials into feminine outfits. He was the only judge who pointed out that a necklace made out of nails was a safety hazard! Wonder if that is what cost Jay the win, though.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Anytime there's an avant-garde challenge
  • Precision F-Strike: Zulema demanded a walk-off during Season 2.
    Daniel: "It's a motherfucking walk-off!"
  • Product Placement: Heidi Klum would like to remind you that you can win a fashion spread in Marie-Clare magazine, that the contestants are using HP products, the hair is being treated with Garnier Hair Salon, various supplies are from Macy's, the makeup is provided by L'Oreal, and much, much more.
    • There are often challenges that involve designing for a national chain, or even for Barbie dolls, that amount to an episode-length commercial.
    • Challenges that design for a celebrity often have an element of this, as the outfit may be intended to be worn on another televised show.
    • This trope was used for good in Season 9, with an episode focused on designs from students at Harlem School of the Arts. The institution had nearly shut down due to financial difficulties the year before.
    • Lampshaded by Marge Simpson of all people "Please remember to make use of the accessories on the who ever's sponsoring the wall now wall."
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • It's surprisingly often that in every season, there are some contestants do not learn how to sew quickly and precisely.
    • Wendy from Season 1. She believed that she had to scheme and strategise in order to win, forgetting that this is a show where you're eliminated based on your designs. She was called out for it in the finale.
    • Vanessa from season 1, although in a different form. Contestants on reality shows are required to sign contracts and forms that would clearly state what type of show it is, how it works and what the rules are. After her experience on Project Runway, she proceeded to bitch to a blog stating that it wasn't what she thought it was and assumed it would be "higher end".
    • Designers who helped Anya finish her sewing in season 9, they seemingly forgot that This Is a Competition, and were outlasted by her.
    • Mondo also showed a touch of this by disregarding Nina Garcia and Michael Kors' suggestions to take the sleeves off his bubble dress for his finale collection (i.e.: not following the direct orders of the people who were deciding the winner).
    • Any time the prize involves the winning look being mass-produced for sale online, there are inevitably competitors who don't realize they should probably make something that can be affordably mass produced. Designers who pride themselves on their intricate tailoring skills can get particularly tripped up on this.
    • Viktor Luna during the print challenge. He designed a beautiful gown with a handmade Rorshach-style print. Keyword: handmade, which probably tanked his chances of winning a challenge designed to showcase HP's awesome computerized print-making products. It's also been suggested that Viktor was penalized on the real women challenge for making his own cute accessory rather than taking one from the Piperlime wall.
    • Even after more than 10 seasons some designers apparently still haven't caught onto the fact that there's going to be a "real women" challenge at some point. Cue people like S9's Olivier Green and S10's Ven Budhu whining that they aren't used to designing for these types of bodies and it's not fair. Not only is it genre blind not to prepare for the possibility of having to design for a non-model at some point, the designers are often hilariously shocked to discover that bashing normal women's bodies on a Lifetime show is often a one-way ticket to Scrappyville.
    • And after, again, more than 10 seasons designers go for fabric-like textiles during unconventional materials challenges. In Season 12, Tim Gunn puts into words just how flabbergasting this is.
      Tim Gunn: "This makes me sick. We may as well have gone to Mood. [...] Have you ever seen Project Runway? Have you seen the unconventional challenges? Have you seen what the judges do when they're presented with a bunch of fabric?"
    • Season 12 also averts this since for once none of the designers are seen openly complaining about their client's figures during the real women challenge (besides the obligatory "I've never designed for a woman like this" comments), possibly because the women this time were fans of the show so they were on their best behavior.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Seems to be the point of the After The Runway special after the show in recent seasons, with designers giving these to each other to "clear the air."
    • Heidi delivers these expertly to contestants who make excuses for their work, particularly when Christian Siriano blamed his client for his ugly dress. While the colors may not have been a poor choice, the dress's poor construction was his own fault, and Heidi let him have it.
  • Reunion Show: Once a season; After the Runway seems to be the Reunion Episode on an installment plan.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Santino's elaborate tales of Tim and Andrae.
    • During Season 7's print challenge, Tim Gunn misread Emilio Sosa's personal print "ESOSA" as "E (HEART) SA" and went: "Emilio loves Seth Aaron?!"
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery:
    • Season 1's Alexandra admitted to knocking off one of Michael Kors' own designs for a look she sent down the runway. It didn't work.
    • One Season 2 challenge involved designing a party dress for Nicky Hilton. After seeing a dossier of looks Hilton has worn in the past, Marla essentially copied one of them and attempted to pass it off as her own design.
  • Spin-Off: Given the massive success of the main show, there have been many:
    • On The Road With Austin And Santino: Season 1's Austin Scarlett and Season 2's Santino Rice drive around the country and make dresses for clients in small towns, when they aren't busy completely screwing around.
    • Tim Gunn's Guide to Style: Tim Gunn and a co-host give makeovers to women from various walks of life.
    • Under the Gunn: Project Runway, but with Tim as host and former Runway alumni Mondo, Nick, and Anya serving as mentors for teams of designers.
    • Models of the Runway: Offers a look into the life of the group of models from Seasons 6 & 7 when they aren't participating in the main competition.
    • Project Accessory: Project Runway, but with competitors making accessories rather than full outfits.
    • Project Runway: Threads": Each episode, three young designers compete in a designing challenge. Serves as a precursor to the more successful Project Runway Junior''.
    • Project Runway Junior: Project Runway, but all the designers are between the age of 13 and 17. Notably averts Think of the Children!: The challenges and critiques the designers face are just as intense as those of their adult equivalents (the only exception being that the workdays on Junior are shorter due to child labor laws). Tim Gunn has stated he prefers working on Junior to the regular show, as the younger designers are much more open to receiving criticism.
    • Project Runway: Fashion Startup: Project Runway meets Dragon's Den.
  • Statuesque Stunner:
    • Heidi Klum, naturally, and most of the models, which sometimes results in amusing height differences between the designers and models (such as season 9's Victor, who comes up to roughly his models' shoulder, and Laura from the same season, who's even shorter next to them) and Kimberly from Season 9 is noticeably taller than most of the other women on the show, standing at about level with her models.
    • Season 6 runner-up Althea Harper fits this trope to a T.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Some gay men evidently feel this way about Joshua M of Season 9, since he's an extremely stereotypical catty gay guy.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Wendy's candy bikini (Season 1) comes to mind, she was also criticized for this over a sheer top in the finale.
    • Casanova's dress in the Season 8 opener was considered something like this by Michael Kors.
    • Emilio's metal washer and pink string bikini from season 7.
    • Also, Zulema's supershort dress from the "Clothes off Your Back" challenge in season 2.
    • Season 1 Alexandra's itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny green Missoni striped bikini surely qualifies.
    • Joshua's Christmas-themed green shorts from the Christmas challenge in All-Stars season 2.
  • Studio Audience: Beginning with Season 8, the designers are miked while the models are walking, allowing for live chatter during the runway show instead of voiceovers.
  • The Stoner: Most seasons have at least one contestant who comes across as or mentions this.
    • Some cokeheads, too. Blayne from Season 5 was making such conspicuous snorting noises that they were noted in the closed captioning, and this is the most likely explanation for Morgan's erratic behavior in Season 1.
    • From Season 2's Garden Party challenge, which required the designers to construct garments out of plants:
      Kara: "Now I've got a pile of green. And the only thing I want to do with it is smoke it, to tell you the truth."
  • Tacky Tuxedo: Some of the suits that were raw materials in a season 13 episode. Even while trying to be nice (and taking one of the tackiest herself), Sandhya couldn't give everyone a suit they wanted to redesign.
  • Take That!: Dmitry aims one at designers who are scared of Nina when she shows up as a guest judge for an episode of All Stars 4.
    Dmitry: You know who doesn't like Nina? People who suck.
  • Team Pet: Swatch, the infrequently seen canine resident of Mood. Swatch's agent seems to have negotiated a better deal, as he has now made at least one appearance in every episode of Season 12 and all of season 13 to date.
  • Technician vs. Performer: A perpetual source of tension, both among the designers and judges: do you eliminate the person with interesting ideas who can't execute, or the person who can tailor beautifully but isn't the most "fashion forward"?
    • The finale collection between Season 5's Leanne (technician) and Korto (performer), which was so close that it caused a Broken Base as a result.
    • Season 9's Viktor (technician) and Anya (performer) are practically a textbook example of the trope.
    • In the fourth season of All Stars, we have Dmitry (technician) and Sonjia (performer). Dmitry has impeccable sewing skills but isn't always as "exciting" as some other designers, though he has come up with some gorgeous pieces that are also fashion-forward. Sonjia is the definition of the performer - she doesn't even sketch - but she tends to pull beautiful, exciting designs out of nowhere with surprising regularity. Fabio is another performer type, but unlike Sonjia and Dmitry, he didn't make it to the finale.
  • Third-Person Person: Suede referred to Suede quite frequently in the third person. It's debatable whether this was charming or irritating.
    • So that's where Suede went...
    • Noted by Michael Kors, who commented that Suede had not yet done anything to justify referring to himself that way.
  • True Companions: The last half dozen designers or so tend to develop this type of dynamic by the end of the season.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: During Season 9 during the Piper Lime challenge, Anya was wearing a dress with no pockets, so she put her money envelope between the strap of her dress and her skin. When it fell out somewhere in Mood she then had no money, and had to use $11 that Anthony Ryan gave her to get a small amount of fabric to go with the muslin they allowed her to use. invoked
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sandro and Ken in Season 12.
  • Vindicated by History: Mondo, whose loss to Gretchen in season 8 was followed by him winning the All Stars season. For similar reasons, Anthony Ryan winning the second after he was eliminated over Joshua M in his season. invoked
  • War for Fun and Profit: The "After The Runway" special is ostensibly to "clear the air" between designers, but it's really for this.
  • What an Idiot!: Keith, according to Laura. invoked
    Laura: "Keith...what an asshole."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: All of the designers during the season 13 reunion had this look on their face when Korina admitted to receiving hate mail from the fans telling her what an awful person she was and that she should kill herself. Project Runway has a great deal of respect towards their fans, but this obviously shocked the designers with how rude and mean their fans could be.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?:
    • Olivier Green's accent from Season 9, which causes a lot of debate among viewers as to whether or not it's fake. If his statement from After the Runway is anything to go by, it's apparently because he moved around a lot to very different places, from Ohio to Taiwan to New York, so it seems to fluctuate with his mood.
    • Season 3's Malan Breton also fell into this category.

Example of: