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A Challenging Situation

It's pretend time, minions!

Darlings, when it comes to this blog and Project Runway, the phrase, "You be the judge" pretty much sums up our approach. But let's switch that up and instead, for just one post, let the guiding idea be, "You be the PRODUCER."

See, we've all been bitching and moaning this season about what we don't like under the new regime. To be fair to the new regime, we all bitch and moan EVERY SEASON, but still. The majority of our complaints (aside from the fact that it's in L.A. and Nina and the Duchess have gone missing) center around what we would consider poor challenges. Too many "make a pretty dress" challenges for our tastes.

Now, we think it's a tad obnoxious when online fans presume that because they have an opinion and the ability to state it, that means the powers that be are required to listen to it, but let's face it: it's been proven time and again that the powers that be behind Project Runway do actually read this little blog every once in a while.

So, with that in mind, here's what we're all asking you to think about:

If you were a producer on Project Runway, what sort of challenges for the designers would you come up with?

We spew enough opinions on here, so we're leaving the floor open to y'all. But we're going to throw one more thing out for discussion. Tell us if you agree with this: We would be perfectly fine to see some old challenges recycled for future episodes. In fact, we think it might be fun if an entire season was made up of challenges that have been done before. Sort of a "greatest hits." They could have fun with it by adding a twist to throw off the designers. Take all the designers down to Gristedes and then tell them that they have to make an outfit from the clothes off their backs, that sort of thing. So, that's the second assignment:

Tell us if you would like to see old challenges recycled and if so, which ones? And how would you put a fresh spin on them?

Minions, GO!

[Photos: Mike Yarish/]

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I would do two challenges.

1: A uniform challenge. Uniforms for a hotel, restaurant, whatever. Lots of designers (Kate Spade for one) are getting into the uniform game and it would be a great way to see how the designers work within strict confines of hem length, working with durable fabric, moveability, etc.

2: A hospital gown challenge. I was just in the hospital for a while and I cannot believe how unevolved and unattractive those gowns are! I'd give each designer 2-3 gowns to cut up and refashion into something that patients can feel comfortable and even slightly fashionable in.

One of my favourite toys growing up was my Day to Night Barbie; I'd like to see a challenge for Day to Night perhaps with the added twist of one of the pieces HAS to be reversible like Barbie's skirt was!

I was just thinking that they need to do something like the candy store or grocery store challenge again.

I think one of the problems with the challenges this season is that the constraints are not very interesting (or even limiting: blue?!).
I would like to see
a) another uniform challenge like the USPS challenge in Season 1
b)a small "carry-on" luggage challenge for an unexpected travel destination (team challenge; draw locations)
c) a millinery challenge (or really, a challenge purely based on an accessory: the models could wear their little black slips

Agree on a uniform challenge, as I always loved the postal worker redesign.

I'd go for a stewardess uniform...or "airline attendant", if you must.

Something for our soldiers. Let's update the "sailor suit" and give them white "sailor suits" to work with.

The one piece wonder. One item, dress, jacket, whatever, that every woman should have that can be worn two ways.

Also, let's truly mess with their minds and give them a polar fleece challenge. All poly polar fleece, all the damn time.

I'd like to have a pants challenge, where all designers are given the same top, and they have to design pants to go with it. They can do anything they want (such as vests, jackets, etc.), but the top should remain the same.

I think they should also have a one time "12 more hours" add on day. The designers would have to vote and 3/4 would have to agree on the one challenge that they get more time on. of course this would be tough to do because of production schedules, but it could yield some better output.

Idea #1:
A mother/daughter challenge! The designers work in teams to create coordinating looks for a grown mom and her child daughter. But in a fashionable way. Not like Laura Ashley matching dresses or Hanna Andersson matching pajamas.

If it's too touchy to have children on the show (for fear of child labor laws or possibly making a child cry), it could be adult moms and their adult or teenage daughters.

Idea #2:
Give all the designers the same "classic" clothing piece and have them reinvent it. Such as a trenchcoat, leather bomber jacket, tweed sport coat, tuxedo, LBD, etc. But with this challenge they each have to use the same starting piece: all tuxedos, for instance, or all LBDs.

I would be okay with some recycled challenges. If they were good once, they will be good again.

We've done a challenge based on art, so how about a challenge based on music? It could be a random song pulled out of the bag, a favorite piece of music, a genre (classical, jazz, country, etc.), or even do an iPod shuffle to determine who gets what. The music could play on the runway as the outfit is modeled.

for the record, I'd just been watching Project Runway Canada Season 2 a few weeks back and they did last weeks EXACT challenge. Only no buying fabric. So, I guess they are kinda open to recycling challenges....? (well they did the grocery one last season too.)

Let's make them hurt, shall we? I want to se swimwear, or better YET a Victoria's Secret challenge. How nuts would Heidi go on that, hmmmm?

A team challenge to create 5 out fits for a week at the office. Many of the pieces would serve double duty. (reversible skirts, interchangeable shirts, etc)

For $300, create what will be 5 separate looks with interchangable pieces. I think 3 people per team could do this with a few days to work on it. The models would do some switching right on the runway to show the versatility....

Inspired by Leona Edmiston's recent commission to design costumes for an Opera Australia production, I'd like to see a challenge where designers have to design for a theatre production. The twist? Well, you know how in Cate Blanchett's recent performance in War of the Roses at Sydney Theatre Company, she played both King Richard II and Lady Anne? Well, this challenge is an actor playing more than one character and more than one gender, so the costume(s) must be able to transition from character to the other. Extra points if the transition can take place onstage. Any genre of theatre or time period may be chosen.

I had a strange idea for a challenge:

Have one magic velvet bag filled with buttons labeled with different fabrics and another MVB with buttons labeled with different garments. Mix n' match. So, one designer might have the simple challenge of making a ball gown out of satin, and another might have to make a rain coat out of suede.

....or just repeat the flower challenge, why not?

As far as a "do-over," I loved the museum challenge. Perhaps to mix it up, ask the designers to create garments based on the work of a specific fine artist.

And I think it would be a riot to get the designers to create for more mature women- find some lovely ladies from a local senior center, and then donate the proceeds from the sales of the garments to the center.

Not just because I work for OfficeMax (who has been at Bryant Park), but how cool would an office supplies challenge be... Cut sheet paper, paper clips, post its, manila folders... I think it would be fun!

Similar to the drag queen challenge, but a bit different.
Make a menswear outfit for their female models. Essentially turn them into the epitome of current men's style (i.e. none of the wonderful flamboyance of drag), so they could snatch a "realness" trophy if they were to walk a ball.

The MAKE IT WORK team challenge:

Each designer presents their ideas and the BOTTOM half has to make their design. The team has to come together to reinvent the sketch so that it's something the customer loves.

I get so sick of watching team leaders go home when their original design was something in the top half of the competition.

I would like to see a challenge where they have to do 1 outfit three ways: 1) on their regular model 2) on a very petite person 3) on a very overweight person. They can make changes to the outfit but it has to be recognizable as basically the same outfit. The outfit can be for any occasion in everyday life.

- Alisonext

i like you guys' idea a few posts back about a challenge where you have to make pants and sleeves - like a suit.

also, i would love to see a coat or other kind of outerwear challenge.

oh, and definitely uniforms also.

possibly also an athletic wear challenge - like the sasha cohen costume challenge or the olympics one.

this is going to sound a little weird, but what about stylish clothes for people with autoimmune inflammatory diseases?

they have a lot of bodily pain, so clothes can't be tight, rough, or restrictive, and their hands and joints are often compromised, so buttons, zippers, and the like would be out.

A shoe challenge would also be fabulous. They tried to do one on The Fashion Show, and it was alright, but I'd like to see Project Runway's turn at shoes. For a twist, have one designer do the shoe, and another designer make the outfit that goes with the shoe. And they all have to do it BLINDFOLDED. : )

How about designers pairing up and making outfits from each others batshit-crazy outfits? Not the outfits they make, but WHATEVER THEY'RE WEARING AT THE TIME. And yes, Louise, that includes your Great Aunt Velma's old bridesmaid dress. Expect tears, ladies. Oh, I hope if they ever institute this challenge, one of the girls is wearing something that takes a minimalist approach to fabric.
You know, like a whore.

Give each designer one of the big 3 pattern companies catalog. Have them pick out a pattern and they have to use the pattern but make it look designer.
Simplicity had a line of PR patterns.
Something to give the home sewer inspiration.

I'd like to see the designers draw their creativity from another art form. On PR Canada, they designed for an actual diva (opera singer) and I'd like to see something like that but with a twist- to base their design on a specific song she would be performing. Give them 30 min. to absorb the music while sketching.

everyone seems to comment that the "older actresses" have trouble finding good red carpet gowns that are age appropriate (ouch!) So design a gown for a Meryl Streep type of celebrity (sorry Meryl... we are about the same age)

A costume for a Beaux Arts Ball, Venetian Carnival, or Halloween Ball.


They always freak them out by making them think they have to work with children, but then they never do, what about a Bat Mitzvah/First Communion challenge?

Or they could do a super messed up challenge based on that song Scarborough Fair: "without no seams/ nor needlework." They could use crochet, felting, paper mache, wire frames- anything they want except for needle and thread (and points taken off for over use of glue-guns).

And since they do an athletic/costume challenge every season, what about if they each had to design for a specific pre-existing character in a ballet or musical or opera? Or what if they all had to make monster costumes?

It seems like there should be a basic formula for a season, like one Make a dress out of Random Crap, one Make a super fancy gown, one menswear challenge (if nothing else to prove they know how to inset a sleeve fergodsakes), one Reinvent something challenge, etc.

the icon-type challenges are always fun. It might be fun to have three spinners, like they did on the last Top Chef quickfire: You design for...Cher, going to...a movie premiere in...Tunisia! You design for...Audrey Hepburn, going shop in...Burma!

I think a challenge where it appears that they are having a "make a pretty dress" challenge when they get back from mood they have to exchange material with another designer. Maybe the winning designer from the week before could choose her fabric, but the rest are pulled from the velvet bag?

I like the unconventional materials challenges - Gristedes, and the flower shop from season 2 are particular favorites. I also love the city-inspiration challenges.

Uniforms are a great idea.

A challenge with making trousers - this is a real skill that many of this season's designers seem unable to master. It could be a good way to separate wheat from chaff.

I also would love to see a real plus-size challenge. With plus-size models, not just pudgy moms.

T.Lee's "Day-to-Night Barbie" challenge idea is AWESOME - I also was a huge fan of that doll as a kid, and making a reversible or convertible garment is an interesting twist.

I like inspiration challenges - give the designers a collection of great art reproductions (Picasso, matisse, Renoir, whoever) and have them create a look based on the print, but working in the style of the movement [ie, cubism, realism]. GOOD dossiers would have to be provided.

A jetsons retro-future challenge would be cool, too - better than avant-garde, which no one ever seems to quite grasp - but still forcing the designers to think outside the box.

I'd like to see another challenge with the same twist as the black and white challenge where the designers had to use all of the fabric they bought.

Someone on this blog (maybe it was you two) talked about a challenge to make trousers and a top with sleeves. I think that's a great idea.
Also agree with the uniform challenge!

Similar to the outdated trends challenge from S4, I'd like to see them have the designers work with an item that is unflattering regardless of the time period, e.g., fussy floral prints or Crocs, and find a way to make it stylish and flattering.

Also, if they can do a challenge based on fine art, why can't they do one based on architecture? The designers would be required to use a famous building as their inspiration, much as Jay did with the Chrysler Building.

I always enjoyed the delicious drama with 'real women' challenges (though not that phrase, but I digress...) and as an athlete I'd love to see a challenge to make a flattering dress for hockey, softball, rugby and lacrosse players. It's a challenging body type (and also mine!) because of different areas of highly developed muscle mass. Plus there would be the drama of one client who didn't want to be girly and the excitement of seeing how a 'jock' can transform.
I guess it would sort of be like the girl fighter challenge in RuPaul's Drag Race, just different athletes.

Yes, I know they just did a 'real women' challenge. But all those ladies are from California and I didn't hear one designer complain. They all looked to me to be pretty close to the model's body type.

Oooooooh, this is a good one. First of all I agree that recycled challenges are not bad. I like seeing the designer's think they can do better then the previous cast and then watch as they come to terms with how hard it actually is to make clothes out of cornstalks. You know, it's all just unusaul material challenges, if it's newspapers or car parts so, why eliminate the MOST FUN unusual materials?

I think what's really missing from this season (aside from the JUDGES!!!!) are forward thinkers. This is a BORING cast. That is all about the production team. I don't think that people tune into PR to see pretty people making marginal clothing, or to see "avant garde" forward thinkers act like cartoon caricatures of fashion designers.
This season is OVERPRODUCED. Casting people and judges to create a story line that would appeal to the Lifetime audience. The best part of PR, for me, was watching people from all across America display their point of view through fashion. A point of view that I otherwise would not have been exposed to. The person who was most able to hold on to there point of view through a series of funny/entertaining/difficult challenges WINS!
The designers were revealed through what they created and had to defend on the runway.
I miss that.

1. Favorite movie inspiration ... this was done in a similar challenge on Top Chef Chicago and I thought whatever their favorite movie is - use that as a springboard.

2. TV icon ... redo an outfit of a character on a classic TV show like I Love Lucy or the Jetsons or even Sex and the city. Throw in ... let's say ... Growing Pains to throw some designers off.

3. Blast from the Past ... design an outfit for a FORMER PR contestant. Hell, bring back Starr!

1) History inspired challenge similar to the S4 Museum challenge. I think they were onto something with the film costume challenge. I'd like them to use a specific time period/culture as an inspiration for something modern or foward. However Victorian or Ancient greek would be excluded! I was thinking like Elizabethian, Feudal China, Aztec, Ancient Egypt, Georgian

2) I think copying the Design house team challenge from PRC would be good. each team create a mini collection aping 1 of the great design house of Versace, Valentino etc

3) A variation of the 50 year in the future challenge from season 1 except use different material source. I think heading to a craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby

4) Design something for Tilda Swinton. Think of the possibilities

5) Duct tape challenge


1) Remake old clothes, the Thrift Store version.

2) No Dresses Allowed, Sorry.

3) Scrubs Reinvented


5) Women's Suits Reinvented

6) The same woman at 3 stages in her life (20s, 30/40s, 50s maybe)

7) Children's Fashion

Very great ideas, everyone! This is more fun than the actual show is right now. : )

I would also be up for some recycling of old challenges, but only if they add a fresh twist to them. A grocery store challenge, but you cannot use anything from the tablecloth or shower curtain aisle!

Or how about take them to Home Depot! We'd see lots of trash bag dresses that week, I am sure.

How about redoing the staffers uniforms at the film studio or Disney.

Oh yeah,
I always liked the group challenges that were like half the cast against the other half, like the Thrift Store Challenge, that furthered charachter development.

I love the idea of children's clothes!
It would also be interesting to see what they would do if they could ONLY buy fabric from the remnant or bargain bin, with very little money.

I lovedlovedloved the wedding challenge. I'd love to see them doing that again and the twist would be no white fabric.

Another one, design an outfit using ribbons ONLY.

I enjoyed the USPS challenge as well and would like to see another similar to that.

I also would like to see the unusual inspiration challenge again. Andrae's gutter water dress is one of my PR faves!

Of course I'm fine with recycling challenges.

1. I like the "take the designers somewhere with cameras and have them design from that inspiration" genre of challenges. The Met challenge worked out better than the NYC at night or the Botanical Gardens challenge because the designers were better, IMO - but one could endlessly change up where to take them. I favor architectural sites.

2. Have them design uniforms - but the business provides the fabric & color scheme, all the designers can choose is notions.

3. Occasionally randomly give them MORE time, or a 2nd trip to the fabric store (only if there's a good 6-8 hours of work time after the 2nd trip though, so they can actually use what they buy.

4. Give them a mock (or a real, why not more product placement?) brief for an ad for either a man's or woman's department store product - perfume or makeup or heck, china or bedding - give them all the SAME set - and have them dress the actor/models. If it's a team challenge and they have 2 days, they have to pose the ad, as well.

At the moment, I don't have any creative challenge ideas. I apologize if this is off-topic, but as a teacher who firmly believes in rubrics and grading standards, I really, really wish that the scoring criteria for each challenge were clear and transparent [the film genre challenge is a perfect example of the need for clear objectives on how the garments will be judged]. Of course, there will also be the need for wiggle-room, and they shouldn't be onerous to stifle creativity, but clear, written objectives would provide a basis for understanding how judging decisions are made (and ensure that all designers understand the challenge).

I want to see an all-star project runway season!!!! Meaning, a winner from each country that has their own PR compete to see who the ultimate designer is. Should be interesting to see the language barriers and cultural differences. Just PLEASE be weary of the 'othering' effect if this ever does come into fruition.

Otherwise, I'd LOVE to see the 'Gimme Shelter' challenge from season 2 of Project Runway Canada. Mainly b/c Sunny (LOVE HIM!!!!) and Jessica rocked that challenged.

I would love to see them have to make an outfit completely out of toys- they could use playing cards, scrabble pieces, doll hair, stuffed animals, etc. etc. etc. I think it would be way fun and force them to be veryyy innovative. : )

OH! Yay!

1) A couples challenge. Perhaps newleyweds?

2) They did a challenge on Project Catwalk that I just loved. They went to a Thrift Store (Goodwill) and filled up a basket, then gathered into a circle and had to move the basket one to the left. I loved that. Both ideas are good: Thrift store shopping or having to use what materials another designer picked. Talk about drama when they take all that time to choose their choice materials and then have to use someone else's and see what another designer did with their stuff!

3) Redo the "Clothes Off Your Back" challenge. Or they could jazz it up where they give designers $100 to go outside and talk someone on the street into letting them buy their clothes with it, and making an outfit from that.

4) Make a ballroom or dance competition dress. Link up with Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance maybe?

Those are my ideas, I'm enjoying reading everyone else's, too!

My problem with this year's challenges aren't so much the ideas behind the challenges; though make something blue was really dumb; it's the results I'm finding dull. I blame that on four things; the insanely short time they have been given to create in most of the challenges, the judging that isn't encouraging anything but the pretty, short and shiny, the chaotic legal mess they were in affecting the production and the screening process that chose the designers based on how cute their clothes were. (Watch the audition interviews and you'll see what I mean.) So fix all that and we might not be so bored.

As for old challenges I would find interesting, I loved the plant materials challenge and the New York and Art Museum inspiration challenges. The inspirations challenges I find especially interesting because that's how designers find the spark for their collections in the real world.

An evening wear design for a troup of dancers. The designers would have to watch the performance and listen to the music and then interpret it in their design. Ramon would've rocked this. Think Pilobus or Momix!

A design challenge for street performers. Must be eye-catching and engaging, but not so crazy that people would steer clear of the performers.

An elegant design (red carpet? evening wear?) for wheelchair-bound people? Must incorporate the wheelchair.

All the designers have to incorporate the same fabric. It would be some stodgy old, hard-to-match print.

I loved the past "inspiration" challenges where the designers were given a camera and told to create their outfit inspired by something they saw and took a picture of. It would also have been a perfect challenge for the LA season because - hey! New city! New surroundings to be inspired by!

Really, any challenge that lets us into the creative process of designing is A-OK in my book.

Oooooh... how about a challenge where they have to make a garment that another designer sketched! Admittedly, this could be lame, but if done right, it could be fun. It would really throw some people out of their comfort zone, and the opportunities for bitchiness are endless!

Bring Puppet Girl (Elisa) back and have them make puppet costumes for her new series of (sure-to-be-wacky) puppet characters. What a fun guest judge she would be!

Make an outfit inspired by an accessory (everyone has a different one that must be on the model when she walks down the runway).

Other challenge re-dos: Flower power, bathing suit (but not one that doubles as going-out wear), uniform redesign, DRAG QUEENS!, weight loss (which this recent wedding dress challenge was a interpolation of), black & white, clothes off your back, rip up the apartments.

They're in an area with a huge range of cultures. I'd like to see a twist on the Top Chef challenge from a while ago where they had to go to a neighborhood, shop there and then create. they'd have to make something that represents both that culture and the designer's aesthetic.

I think child/early teen challenge would be really interesting. They'd have to work within pretty strict 'appropriateness' guidelines, and it would probably yield some really cool, and some really terrible results.

And I like Amanda in Austin's idea. I know one episode of Project Catwalk had all the designers doing an update of the classic burberry mac, with half doing a men's and half a women's.

Men's clothes!

Jehovah's Hit List

Here's my idea- and for it to work, we need to start with an even number of designers, say 16.

On the eighth episode (with 8 designers remaining), bring out the 8 auf'ed designers, like the avant garde/zodiac challenge of S5. The remaining designers then select an assistant from the auf'ed crowd for as-yet unnamed challenge.

Back in the workroom, Tim welcomes everyone back and announces the challenge: the remaining designers need to re-work the design that got their teammate auf'ed in the first place. Raw materials: the auf'ed garment and *maybe* $20.00 at MOOD.

Think about it: 8 stressed-out designers, 8 pissed-auf'ed people, and a whole lotta ugly to be remade into pretty, chic, wearable clothing. I smell the drama already. And no, this would not be an opportunity for auf'ees to re-enter the competition.

I'd like to see a challenge featuring historically accurate costumes for various historical periods. Not just for "period pieces"- Christopher adding the "vampire" aspect automatically made it speculative and thus it no longer needed historical accuracy. Pick several historical periods- Medieval, Renaissance, Colonial America, Victorian, etc. And they cannot add any fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural elements- they have to keep it historically accurate as if they were doing someone's biography.

1. Contestants have to make a dress without using cutting tools. No shears, rotary cutters, or blades. Seam rippers would be allowed.

2. Contestants would have to design gowns around a single piece of jewelry.

I think the most challenging assigments are the team challenges. It really shows how a designer communicates with, manages and directs others. These are very important skills if a designer actually wants to get into the business of fashion. They need to be able to articulate thier ideas to others that actually have to put them together!
In the last few seasons, I haven't seen much of that, and it's too bad. A number of spoiled, whiny designers would have been out long before they actually were.
My fave was the "design a three-piece collection for the future" challenge from the first season using materails from a thrift store. Choosing three-person teams, assigning a leader, and seeing how everyone handles making more than one outfit.

Oh! And it would be awesome if they had a challenge forcing the designers to work with models in wheelchairs- so they can make beautiful and functional things that can work for these women. I think it would be awesome to bring a little more compassion into the show as well- make the designers do something inventive for someone who actually really needs the clothes!

C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

Okay, I don't have time to read all the comments, so I hope nobody has mentioned this yet.

I am eager to see if the producers could do a take on "Project Bike": a contest where design students had to design clothing and accessories for bike commuters.

Now, I'm not talking about glow-in-the-dark neon spandex here. I'm talking about nice rain-resistant jackets, classy shorts, etc. that could help a gal like me look fabulous on her daily commute but not worried about ruining my outfit on the bike.

It's a challenge that is about being stylish while being environmentally friendly. Also, unless the 'fixie-hipster' trend burns out before they could put it on air - it speaks to a trend that many other media outlets have noted. If they want product placement, call Trek or Schwinn.

Plus, it could get Tim on a bike again.

Thanks for the opportunity to play armchair producer, not like I don't play that every week here.

Thanks, TLo!

yeah! ho! wah!

i think every season should have its share fare of:

- crazy material challenges. they are the most creative ones!

- costume challenges. drag queens! female wrestlers!

- one avant-gard challegne. the thing here is: i think just this once, the contestants should be given enough money and time, so they really have the chance to make a great piece of art.

- real people: mothers, divorcées, teenagers, plus-size...

- mens wear: i might be in the minority here, but i think every season should have at least one mens wear challenge. they dont have to be boring... what about mens wear avant gard, or make-overs for awkward teenage boys! (also: male models, yay!)

- "practical" challenges: the mailman challenge, the pregnancy look... clothes with very specific requirements.

- pretty dress/high fashion challenges: there are way too many of those this season, but a few o hem are always good.

Superheroes. Seriously, it would be amazing.

I like the earlier mentioned idea of making a garment work for three different body types (team challenge!), but also I think maybe a for real plus size challenge with professional plus size models. Guest judge: Beth Ditto. Prize: The winning garment will be sold in Beth Ditto's line.

Reversible garment challenge would be sweet, too.

Favorite past challenges (for some of these, I like the idea of the challenge rather than the actual results): Designers designing for each other or themselves, cotton-envy challenge, dog outfit, couture, avant garde to ready-to-wear

For the recycled challenge, I really liked the design an outfit from a picture you took on the street. I think this was from season 2.

For a new challenge I would like to see them design an outfit for a pre-school teacher. Something that is flattering, but she is able to be on the floor with toddlers.


Well, there are some really great ideas here already. Lifetime, are you reading?

Sure, recycle. They've already done that with the grocery store challenge and the paper challenge (okay, one was newsprint, one was recycling--it was still paper).

Just for fun, here are all our predictions, reactions, & suggestions when we first heard about the move, back in April '08:

Lifetime Announcement

I'm ok with recycled challenges, especially stuff like Gristedes and city inspiration.

For something LA specific, why not a graffiti/mural inspiration challenge? There's amazing source material:

A challenge slightly more costumey -- something to do with Day of the Dead? I could see both fantastic and awful results coming from that.

LA has a HUGE flower mart, not far from the fabric district. So do the flower challenge again.

Outfits for rock musicians -- pretty little dresses need not be made!

Take them to a museum to look at traditional clothing. Each designer has to translate a traditional look (Cherokee, Mayan, Turkish, whatever) into modern fashion.

I've more, but that seems like enough for one post! :)

Have the designers make something chic out of terry cloth. I want to see the most awesome bathrobes in the world. And instead of immunity for one challenge, the winning designer gets ten percent of the proceeds from selling their design online, with the rest of the proceeds going toward a charity.

I would like to see more real women challenges. I want a season where the models are various sizes for all the shows. Or a season where they take some classic body sizes (like pear-shaped), and models of varying sizes/heights with that shape, and the little black bag tells designers what classic clothing item they have to make to flatter that shape, from pants suit to little black dress.

They could also take them to Tavern on the Green and announce that they have to do a topiary-themed design.

Or pull chess pieces out of the bag instead of tokens, and they have to design with their chess piece in mind. Ditto for a deck of cards.

This isn't a specific challenge, but I'd really like to see the people get more time. It is not interesting to see people try to complete two outfits in 24 hours if both outfits are crap. We watch more to see good fashion created than to see the drama of awful clothes created quickly.

You know the Miss Universe country-specific costumes? It would be kind of cool to see them create something like that. I'd also kind of like to see a Halloween costume challenge. I like the idea of a Halloween costume for a fashionista.

Competitive ballroom dancing attire. BOOYA.

Idea #1 I heard that anything can become fashionable, so I would live the designers to be given a really ugly accessory and create an outfit around it.

Idea #2 The designers always seem to mess up when it comes to men clothing, but I would like to see them design clothes for men who plus sized, and make it be stylish outfit.

1) There's often so much talk about things being "costumey" -- I'd love to see a challenge where they have to translate iconic costumes (superhero ones, for example) into wearable looks.

2) If they're back in New York, there could be an MTA-centric challenge in which they have to use subway maps, bus schedules and metro cards as their raw material.

3) Also from New York, a "Bridge and Tunnel" challenge in which the looks are inspired by the architecture and design of the various bridges, ferries and tunnels that connect Manhattan to the outer boroughs and Jersey.

It should be noted that Tim Gunn has stated that a lot of the challanges were last minutes ideas as the lawsuit scrapped a lot of their original ideas (with the emmy one only surviving)

having said that why dont they just give them ribbon and tell them to make a dress, i mean that doesnt require fancy thinking, budget or preplanning just mind-f*cking.

or make them dress teenage girls from the wardrobe of their grandmothers

Provide a makeover for a classic cartoon character (Wilma, Marge, April O'Neil, Jessica Rabbit, Vilma, Daphne).

Challenge similar to the Botanical Garden challenge except bring them to one of those Butterfly zoos or a bird house.

Love the uniform ideas! Hotel staff, airline staff

Team challenge-- one virtue, one vice:
Greed- Mercy
Anger- Patience
Gluttony- Temperance
Envy- Love of God
Sloth- Courage

Outfits based on different cities (resortwear maybe).

For a different materials, maybe a papergoods or stationary store?

A green challenge, focusing on green sustainable fabrics


I thought about period garb as well but really even at 2 days, the designers could only do simple stuff if they wanted to create accurate garb. I love the idea of it but the designers would need good working knowledge of their respective period to pull it off. :(


As a master weaver and fiber artist, I would love to see the desigher contestants matched with fiber artists that provide "art" fabric (e.g., 2 or 3 yards of 3 to 5 different fabrics). The designers would collaborte with their fiber artist partner to develop an outfit that incorporates at least 2 of the fabrics into an outfit that wouldn't necessarily be avant garde, but a wearable piece of art.

I like sixgables twist of the icon challenge. You can take two velvet bags (as some one already suggested) and have icons in one and locations in the other. That's a great twist on the icon challenge.

I'd like to see a flower challenge again but at a place with cheaper flowers or give them more money so we can see flowers this time.

Take them to a flea market/auction and give them $15 and make them come up with an outfit (to actually be worn out in public)

The uniform challenge you could do so many different ways. They could all reinvent the same thing or have multiple uniforms that they draw out of the velvet bag and have one or two design for each kind.

This is much more fun than watching PR right now :)

Versace created a space suit, what if the designers had to reinvent the space suit? Just throwing that out there :)

I'd like to take them to a Salvation Army or St. Vincent DePaul clothing bin - not a thrift store, but the bin where people dropped off their old clothing - have them dig through it and recycle pieces to make something fashionable and useful to donate to a woman's shelter.


Ooooh, or because the designers are all so colorphobic, a rainbow challenge, where they have to spin a color-wheel to pick at least two bright, bright, eye-bleeding colors.

I love the superhero challenge suggested by someone above. They could draw the superpowers from the bag and design an outfit for a superhero with those powers.
Another one... "What would they be wearing now" draw a diva or historic figure from the past and design an outfit they would wear if still alive. Hey they could even do 2 teams with Virgins vs Vixens and have TLo as guest judges!

One more: Make the designers make a completely different outfit out of the designs from 2 shows back--minus the winning and losing designs. You could let them have their own outfits, randomly choose outfits for them from a bag, or let them choose any design but their own...kind of like "Clothes Off Your Back" but different!

There are a few classic PR challenges that I'd love to see recycled:

Update a fashion icon (I don't think any spin is necessary, the challenge was perfection)

Use anything in your apartment (or other random location they take them to - the "restaurant" challenge in All-Stars lead to some great innovation)

Drag queens challenge (because enough queens out there deserve a shot to be on the show - and so many looks from the last time round were so tragic that redemption is needed)

Astrological sign (but this time, design it based on another designer - and that designer is also the model)

Uniform challenge (it could be USPS or any other uniform - from flight attendant to fast food).

As for NEW challenges, I've always wanted to see:

Take a losing look from a previous season and recreate it with your own aesthetic (and, of course, as a winning dress)

Give a fashion makeover to someone they know from back home (come on - it seems right up the new producers' alley - of course, they'd probably bring back exes and estranged siblings to up the drama)

Create a look built around an accessory

Team Challenge: A mini-collection. Create looks for the same woman which she can wear for various times of the same day. Business wear. Formal wear. Going to the bar. Casual. The point would be creating 3 looks that have cohesion, but are intended to be worn at distinctly different functions.

Marketing Diva

A shoe and accessories challenge. The twist would be that the shoe and accessories do not match ie. Winter boats with beach hat, the designers would have to invent a new trend.

It is the year 2150 and the client needs an evening gown, the twist is that climate conditions have changed on earth, so each designer would be given a different climate (Strong Winds, Raining, Freezing, Snowing, Desert ...)

I love the different size model challenge that someone said earlier in the post that is brilliant

The Uniform challenges should be a staple on PR. Food, clothes off your back, flowers and art challenge should all be redone.

Not that you asked, but I have a suggestion on how to save the Models on Runway. Heidi and the judges should evaluate the models walk every week. The models scores for walking should be given to the designers . The model with the best walk can not be eliminated . I think this would be fun and it would be a true competition for the models instead of the weak competition of I hope a designer likes me this week

I think menswear separates the pack pretty well because they have to make trousers and shirts with sleeves. I also like the idea someone had about not using any needle and thread. I wouldn't mind seeing car parts again because I thought that really brought out a lot of creativity. I also think it would be fun if the designers suddenly had to switch fabrics or designs or both with another designer after they have gone to mood. Using all the fabric you have bought would have proven interesting this season as well because it always appears they have bought a lot of extra fabric that they don't use. That could end up in something fun.

Good lord. 85 posts already! I'll suggest one that someone came up with yesterday.

Mother of the Bride

and now I'll go back and read all those other posts.

Although the Fashion Show was a hot mess (in the words of my favorite all time designer), the shoe challenge was brilliant. Something for shoe whores to drool over and a great inspiration.
Second idea is a challenge based on iconic model muses that have a range of decades.

1. Texture challenge - all the fabric has to be altered in some way (slashed, bleached, quilted, smocked etc.)

2. Teacher challenge - get the kids to say on VT what they want their teacher to wear and give the designer the measurements - one fitting, late on the second day, would be the first time they meet their clients.

3. Mother of the bride challenge - let's see some non-dowdy age-appropriate dresses here.

4. Cowboy challenge - everyone has to make a decent pair of jeans and some chaps.

5. TLo challenge - the challenge is to win the TLo seal of approval. You guys could be judges. It would be awesome!

Oh, and I would definitely give them two days for all my challenges.

I agree with everyone who has called for more time for challenges. It defeats the purpose of having Tim to critique and acceee to your models for fittings if you don't have time to edit and finish anything. I think the overall quality of designs this season would have been better if the designers had more time to take in critiques and make chanegs.

Honey, I used to have a figure like Cher, but those days are over!! So here's another vote for a dressy outfit for a "mature" woman. Over 50, needs bosom support (so no skimpy braless bodices), 20 to 50 pounds overweight, but still a sex kitten at heart. Not looking for an MOB dress; not a look that belongs on a younger woman.

Could maybe require the dress to be sleeveless, but have a jacket/capelet/whatever which incorporates sleeves, and attempt to settle the sleeve/no sleeve question for older women who don't pump iron.

Stephanie said...

3) Redo the "Clothes Off Your Back" challenge. Or they could jazz it up where they give designers $100 to go outside and talk someone on the street into letting them buy their clothes with it, and making an outfit from that.

Love the strangers part. Or they could have a bunch of "real women" come in and let the designers pick, not knowing that they are going to have to make outfits out of what they are wearing and then tell them once they get back to the work room with the "real women" they picked.

I love this post, and I hope the producers are reading the replies carefully.

1. A challenge in the second half of the season where each designer would have to take the aufed design from an earlier episode and reinvent it.

2. The "black and white" challenge from season 3 included a restriction that the designers must use ALL of their purchased fabric in their design, except they half-assed it by letting the designers use remnants to stuff handbags. I'd like to see a challenge where each designer is given the same amount of fabric, and has to use every square inch of it.

3. Now that Runway is on Lifetime, they can do ABC-related challenges, right? I'm thinking Dancing with the Stars is a natural. Especially if it's a team challenge and each team has to do both a man's and a woman's costume.

I love the challenges where the designers design for each other and walk the runway.

A typical "pretty dress" challenge one week -- and then the next week, they have to reinvent the same dress they just made into something completely different.

Give them all the exact same combination of fabric/materials and watch them come up with different variations.

Give them all a basic dress, and judge on finishing and "pieces of flair" that each designer adds to the basic piece.

These are great ideas! I admit I didn't read all the way to the end, so hopefully I'm not repeating. Someone suggested a mother/daughter design. How about a couple design for the red carpet. For Will & Jada Pinket Smith or Brad & Angelina - something that goes without being matchy matchy.
How about a school uniform challenge.
Let each designer draw a design, but then switch the designs so you work from someone else's idea and have to make it your own.
I do like the idea of several pieces that can be worn together to function as five day's worth of outfits.

First, let me say I LOVE Jehovah's Hit List's suggestion. BRILLIANT.

But my thoughts are along the same lines of the others:

1) Challenge to reuse? The "Use Everything You Buy" Challenge of Season 3(?). I loved seeing how the designers worked with the challenge of having to not waste fabric.

2) Be a Real Designer. Everyone gets a sewing assistant, either a dismissed contestant or someone else. The Designer designs, works with the client, does the shopping, but sewing is done by someone else. Only 1 fitting aloud. It would be a way to get over the "I'm a designer, not a seamstress" comments.

3) Design a pattern. Have the designers design a garment, make the garment, and then figure out how to translate it for the home sewer.

4) Dress Tim Gunn. The Designers need to design menswear with Tim as their muse.

5) The Draping Challenge. 1 dress, 3 yards of fabric, no cutting.

6) more non-traditional materials challenges, but no muslin for the cheating "I glued a bunch of shit to a dress" version.


Design an outfit that is more for a photo shoot than a runway. Judges will not see the outfits on the runway. They will only see photos.

They should steal some of the challenges from Project Runway, Canada.

Here are some PRC challenges which were amazing:

1. Every designer was given a large amount of muslin. The idea there is you just see their design --- there is no distraction caused by color or print. WIth them using the same banal fabric, you see the design with laserlike focus.

2. Formal gowns made out of Post-it notes, modeled by breast cancer survivors. Absolutely brilliant dresses came out of that one.

3. They sent all those urban, non-outdoorsy designers on a camping trip, giving each a full set of camping equipment. Twist: they were told out in the woods that they are going to have to make their next challenge outfit from the camping supplies -- and anything they use for camping they CAN'T use for the challenge. The bravest pair forwent using their tent.

Since everyone is tired of pretty dresses, why not take advantage of the fact that many red-carpet dresses are sold off for charity after an event, and have a red-carpet challenge with a real-world twist?

Each designer is given (or gets to choose based on drawing order from the MVB) an actual gown worn to a red-carpet event. The designer must rework the gown (yes, the actual gown) into office or daily wear, using just the material from the gown itself, whatever supplies he or she can buy from Mood for $25, and the accessory wall. This should be a two-day challenge.


New challenges:

1) Have each designer rework one of the losing designs from a previous week.

2) Give each designer a challenge that is focused on their weakness. I'm not watching this season (just reading you guys!) so I can't comment on these designers, but there is always someone who only does A-lines, or can't do pants, or overuses some design element or another.

Recycled challenges:

1) Fashion icon challenge! So awesome.

Two day challenge: design a two-piece look.

The twist? After day 1, everyone has to swap one of their work-in-progress pieces with someone else. Tim chooses names from the velvet bag.

IndyAnna @ 11:16am has a good start. Instead of the same artist, have each designer (get it down to 4-6 designers) use the same painting as inspiration.


They should dress a gay couple for a wedding. (They would need to go back to NY for that, as it's no longer legal here in Calif).

That would, IMHO, be an excellent challenge. Do you dress them matchy-matchy? Can you avoid the old trap of having one look like a bride and one a groom?


I like the suggestion above about Models of the Runway; even better. after the winning designer picks their model, the model who received the highest score can pick a designer.

p.s. I don't know if T and Lo are married or not, but I would love for them to be the grooms in a gay wedding challenge. Fun!

First of all, I read about half of these and they're fantastic. PR producers best be listenin' in.

As for challenge ideas... I like the idea of the Jetsons... and maybe somebody already said this but maybe instead of just the Jetsons, each designer would have to "Reinvent" a female cartoon character...

So like, Marge Simpson, Judy Jetson, Betty Rubble, Lois Griffin, etc. It'd be cool to bring the cartoon characters to life and maybe make them a bit more... saucy. Haha. It would also make for fun hair, make-up, and accessories in the challenge, too.

They can do costumes for the leads in a prison production of "West Side Story"--or some such other musical. They'd have a budget of $35 dollars to use at the Ossining Salvation Army.

I always liked the idea of having the designers give more thought to performance or styling for at least one challenge.

Some some ideas:

1) Have the designers define their aesthetic, then advertise for or find a client that might be typical to simulate what would happen if they had a client walk into their workroom and ask them to design an outfit. It might be cool to have the judges see how they handle the client, too.

2) A challenge where part of the judging is based on the performance of the outfit in a real world situation. That could be anything from following the reactions of the friends of a lady who lunches wearing an outfit or how well an athletic outfit or uniform performs IN USE as well as just the looks.

Also, just another comment: I'd like to see judging criteria clarified a little, especially for certain challenges. Looking for creativity? Innovation? Wearability? Retail appeal?

Dollar Store Challenge. Give them $20 and 20 minutes to buy their materials...

I love the idea of a uniform challenge. How about nurses? McDonalds workers? Bus drivers?

I love the challenges where they work with unconventional materials. How about a challenge with flowers? Crayons? puzzle pieces? Or a toy store - take whatever materials from inside a toystore and create an avante garde piece.

Love the idea of a bathing suit challenge. With a day to night element. That would be good.

How about an element of social justice? have the contestants go to a homeless or domestic violence shelter and have them design an outfit for the clients to wear for job or apartment interviews?

Agreed on the uniform challenge. I also liked the jeans challenge as well, bring that back.

I'd love to see a re-invent workwear challenge as someone suggested, but turn something stuffy into something stylish, like the traditional navy blue attorney suit.

I also LOVED the drag queen challenge. Bring that back honey! LOL

Another uncoventional materials idea: what about a soda can challenge? That would be amusing.

Whatever they do, please make sure the judges are actual designers and not just stylists. The judging needs to be more uniform across the board.

reintepreting red carpet worst dress list or take them to a glass art exhibition!

2 challenges:

1) Recycle the Umbrella Challenge from Project Runway Canada Season 1. Reusing all that nonbiodegradable fabric was both entertaining and informative.

2) Seeing that PR has an international audience, how about an International Fabric Challenge? There are tons of fabrics/materials out there that are unique to particular countries, such as silk made from pineapples, Sri Lankan cowhide (an almost orange leather), Indonesian hemp, etc.


1) Plus Size Challenge

2) Interview Outfit for Underprivlidged Women

3) Reinvent Scrubs

The candy challenge. I second the uniform challenge...for anything, does not need to be the post office.

Menswear OR a non-dress challenge. I want to see them make PANTS

I mentioned this yesterday, but I'll say it again here: A Mother-of-the-Bride challenge. Whenever someone makes something dumpy/frumpy/dowdy, the comment is "That's so Mother-of-the-Bride," which is meant to be some horrible insult. The challenge will be to reverse this stereotype.

Super Villains! to go with the Super Heroes.

Monster inspired for Halloween airing now that they have their seasons set

Another Drag Queen challenge

How about they have to do something with color red???

Just kidding, I would love to see a challenge when everyone has the same fabric but each one has to make something different that will be determined by the mystery bag. They can't dye the fabric, they just have to make it work.

1. Do the movie challenge again-- with real guidelines, this time. Outfits must be costumes of characters in a movie in your genre-- no inspired by, no throwing in random vampires.

2. A 'real woman' challenge where the models are female athletes who want to look chic and lovely. Muscles, thick waists and ankles and all.

3. An animal themed challenge-- drag the designers to a local zoo, with cameras, and have them create an outfit based on the animal of their choice. Like the art museum challenge of season 4.

also, athletic wear inspired challenge would be awesome. not like the olympic games challenge in season 5, more high fashion and sporty.

One thing I'd also like to mention -- these 1-day challenges are a big part of the problem! Mix it up. Give the designers more time to be creative. You'll get more ambitious designs instead of all the boring pretty dresses.

My all-time favorite challenge was clothes off your back. And,as a thrift-whore, those challenges are always the most fun for me. Flea market?

I think one of the biggest let-downs this show ever gave me was the MET challenge. Any designer can modernize Spanish regency (though of course, results will vary.) Real innovation is seeing how one puts a Kandinsky, a De Kooning, a Calder into a garment. They missed something potentially brilliant. So next time: MOMA over met, non-figurative art, sculpture instead of painting (Brancusi dress, anyone?), maybe even hit up the MOCA-LA.

I also really love icon-type challenges. The one with the outdated styles reimagined will always have more material to work with. We have a long history of now-embarrassing fashion. I really loved the fashion icon challenge, but I have always thought they should do it again...but with male icons interpreted as women's wear: MJ, Bowie, Bogart, Kurt Cobain, Liberace, Kanye, Johnny Rotten, David Byrne, Sly, etc., etc. That would be so. cool.

Also, scenario:
One woman, from New Jersey. Has a gajillion daughters, as many as there are designers. Has some debutante event to dress her chilluns for. Each designer gets a daughter, over-the-top socialite Jersey mom gets to play the role of client, Tim Gunn, AND judge. You know it, best TV ever.

I know production companies would conflict, but--Mad Men challenge!

It's lifetime--teen pregnancy wear?

It's LA--migrant farm clothing? Smog-protectant?

Dear gods of PR,if there really are gods of PR,if you're out there listening...
Lady Gaga,get her.

For a new challenge, what if they had to obtain their materials at a DIY store? If needed, they could use muslin as a base.

I enjoyed the black/white challenge and also that they had to use all their fabric.

First season, the designers divided into teams and not only went to a vintage store to shop but designed a mini-collection as well. That seemed to be a big challenge and created much drama.

How about recognizing our medical community? A challenge to make fashion forward garments out of scrubs, lab coats, surgical attire, surgical masks, surgical gloves and head covers?

How about a travel outfit challenge - give each designer 2 days to put together a few mix/match separates that can be worn in several different combinations that can be the few things someone packs to go away for a long weekend - all items would have to fit into a small carry-on bag and be wrinkle free.

Few random ideas that may or may not actually work:

1: Challenge in which the designers have to make an outfit of their choosing, but they aren't going to Mood; instead, they have to go door to door and convince people to give them old clothes to use (partially stolen from a Top Chef episode).

2: Make an outfit inspired by one of the Seven Deadly Sins (or one of the Seven Virtues, but the sins are more fun).

3: Re-design school uniforms for a local school (unlikely to happen, but still).

4: Make an outfit inspired by a cocktail.

5: Make an outfit for child clients.

6: Take an infamously ugly Christmas sweat and use it in a chic holiday design.

7: Edible designs. Food Network had a challenge once in which the chefs/bakers had to make outfits made mostly out of chocolate and those outfits were walked down a runway, so it'd be interesting to see the designers here do something similar.

8: Sleepwear that can be worn to a party (kind of like S1's swimwear episode).

Challenges I'd love to re-see:

Supermarket challenge (always produces memorable outfits)
Wedding gown challenge (maybe with real brides, not the models as clients)
Barbie challenge
Flower challenge
Recyclables challenge
Drag Queens

I don't care much one way or another what the challenges are, I'm just tired of one day challenges. I know that the point of these short challenges is to bring on the drama, and to be honest, with this season's group of designers they need a little prodding in the drama department.

But I'd really love to see a two day or three day challenge, if only to see what these people can really do with time to design and construct an outfit.

And it could be fun to see someone implode by thinking that 3 days gives them all the time in the world. Cause you know someone is going to fritter it all away till last minute.

Maybe a cool challenge would be to have the designers do a challenge outside the workroom. Say have them work their challenge with established designers in their workrooms. It could be teams of two PR designers with say 4 or 5 different fashion houses. How are they going to work in the real world and can they work within the the confines of another fashion houses point of view?

But it sounds complicated.


There are some really great ideas here! A few ideas...

* A quinceanera challenge, yeah, another "pretty dress" sort of challenge, but I loved watching the designers interact with teenagers for the prom challenge
* A Halloween costume for Heidi challenge, since she loves wild costumes
* A redesign of a professional cheerleading uniform
* A hobby store challenge where the designers can only use things found in a crafts store

And, I love the idea of recycling old challenges. Top Chef does this from time to time too. I would love to see the flower challenge done again, or the candy store challenge!

First Lady challenge - looks inspired by different First Ladies. Each designer given a collection of her signature looks for inspiration.

How about a Night to Day challenge: from the cat walk to the walk of shame!

My favorite challenges (with the exception of this season) are the avante guarde/conceptual/artsy, where they can have a couple of days to work and go really nuts. I'd give them a challenge where they have to take an inspirational historical element -- Elizabethan collar, kimono, a frock coat -- and encourage them to make something modern and conceptual out of it.

I agree with all of the posters who like the challenges with non-model women of different ages and sizes.

1. A challenge that incorporates at least 2 patterned fabrics into a look

2. I like the quick fire challenges on Top Chef which make the chefs demonstrate basic culinary skills. So, an early challenge that would make the designers show us they capable of some basic sewing skills, like an outfit that must have pants, sleeves, and a zipper.

3. The designers are given a challenge for an outfit, sent to Mood to buy fabric, and then when they get back to the workroom Tim makes them swap fabrics with each other.

I have two suggestions--

1) More plus size challenges. The majority of people in the US are not size 2, but rather size 14 and up, unfortunately. And dammit, we want to look nice too! I never find that many things that I like. Some famous designers have some great plus-size lines. If they want to sell to more than just teenagers, then people have to learn how to make us fat chicks, who would spend more because you use more fabric, look nice.

2) How about designing outfits that would be for people with disabilities? Like, what would be a comfortable yet stylish outfit for someone in a wheelchair, or who has to wear a prosthetic? Might not be that different, but I bet there are a few little details that can make a difference.

design a costume for a major (upcoming or currently running) broadway show i.e. mamma mia, wicked, phantom, etc.

Jehovah's Hit List: WIN. Bring the first 8 auf-ed designers back to help the top 8 retool their original disasters? Hot damn, what a great idea! Would make for some excellent drama, for sure.

So there's plenty of justified bitching about the "make a pretty dress" issue. Let's screw with everyone here. Make the ugliest outfit you can, using a certain word or theme as inspiration: "infantile," "absurd," "tacky," "offensive," "hot mess," "blue"...the possibilities are endless. I'd love to see La Nina and Duchess L'Orange try to tackle it. And I'd love to see the designers talk intelligently about their inspiration - referencing (and inevitably insulting) actual designers!

I don't want to see a bunch of "real women" or "fix a figure flaw" challenges. I do want to see challenges that represent what a major designer does: menswear, swimsuit/ resort wear, design two costumes for a particular movie (not a genre), accessories design, knitwear, athletic line, etc.

If PR wants to create a stylist challenge show where they get figure flaw clients, or kids, I will totally watch but I want to see PR aim at finding the next great designers, not the next RTW buyers.

Add in one freak challenge (flowers, car parts, restaurant components, candy, etc.), one team challenge and one one-day challenge.

How great would a Michelle Obama challenge be? Designing for a First Lady, and seeing all the designers take on it, would rock.

PS, my friend wants me to write "halloween costumes for horses"! Apparently, this is an actual activity at the stables. Her horse went as a sheep and she was a shepherdess. I can't stop laughing.

**TLo challenge - the challenge is to win the TLo seal of approval. You guys could be judges. It would be awesome!

this is brilliant and should be done NOW.

I'd LOVE to see some of the older creative challenges revived!!!
1.) Flower Power - This challenge was incredible, because it made the designers think completely out of the box, but it also made way for beautiful creations. Some of the new creative challenges are just asking for ugly outfits. Sorry.

2.) Postal Uniform Challenge - This was just genius. Why not take a clue from this challenge and have the designers re-design...say...a flight attendants uniform? It will make them think on more then one level. They will have to make it comfortable for long flights, but also attractive, and most importantly somewhat conservative. Its a thinking competition.

3.) Making a Splash/ On thin Ice- Another genius idea. Make the designers work with materials they aren't used to, but they also have to make it practical and beautiful! (Plus, Celebrity judge! C'mon, remember how excited Nick was to see Sasha Cohen? Classic).

I'd like to see a mascot challenge. Draw a sports team (anything from water polo to rope skipping) from the velvet bag and invent a new mascot. You get a folder with information about the team and a few videos.
Don't use the Macy's accessories wall this time.

i think recycling challenges would be a great idea. and keeping that notion in mind, i think an awesome challenge would be for each designer to be assigned a famously awful look from a previous season and then be asked to create a garment from the exact same fabric, with the same challenge specifications.

for example, one designer would be assigned that hideous pocahantas dress from the SJP challenge, and then be asked to create another Bitten look out of that exact fabric.

now i realize there are two downsides to this idea:

1) it would be the judging extremely difficult, because you would not only have to judge how well the designed updated the bad design, you would have to take into consideration how each designer's outfit meet the criterion for the challenge, and if each designer had different challenge requirements, that could get very confusing.

2) a main reason why many of these infamous dresses were so bad, was bad fabric choices.

my response to both of those problems is that 1) the judging on this show is so arbitrary at times anyway and 2) just make it work!

also, id like to see the designers work with clients more. i think that a huge part of the fashion industry is having to design FOR someone, especially when you are first starting out.

Take the designers to a Big & Tall Men's store, they have to use what they can grab in five minutes to make outfits for their stick-thin lady models.

Hmmm, pre-cut sleeves and trousers that actually work, but are 36 sizes too big ...

And, TSB@11:39am said, Superheroes. Seriously, it would be amazing.

Edna Mode has to be a judge!

1. I want to see a Pants/shorts only challenge. Or make it even harder and say they have to make sleeves too. Making little sheath dresses is too easy and has practically become a default (and boring) choice: take that crutch away.

2. I like seeing recycled challenges. For pete's sake they recycle the damn red-carpet challenge: why not recycle one of the more interesting ones?

I also wouldn't mind an overseas trip again. Tokyo, anyone?

LA is all about diversity. I'd love to see the designers head downtown and be assigned a different nationality-centric area (Olvera Street, Little Tokyo...) and have to design a wearable outfit inspired by that culture.

The grocery store challenges are always fun too!

SO many great ideas! I've thought about this one for years, How about sending them to JoAnn Fabric with $50 (or whatever) and see if they can make anything "pretty" from the crap that is available to home sewers on a regular basis. I'd bet only Laura Bennet and maybe Gordana could handle this challenge without tears :-)

I'd love to see the florist or car parts challenge again, and there could certainly be new versions of these, too: buy materials at a toy store or a hardware store. Those are often my favorite challenges. I'd also be interested to see what these designers would do with the shoe inspiration challenge from The Fashion Show. Or another uniform challenge - design for Dunkin Donuts or TGI Friday's (especially if they had to do a look each for men and women.)

One of my favorite art exhibits here in Boston is the Art in Bloom show at the MFA. Florists make arrangements inspired by the art pieces in the museum's collection. I would love to see the designers create garments based on paintings or sculptures. I'd even be interested to see what they did if they all had to base their designs on the same work of art.

I would love to see a cosplayers' challenge: Go to the nearest sci-fi convention and grab a geek wearing a costume. Make an everyday garment (cocktail dress, garden club outfit, sportswear, whatev) inspired by the costume!

I do like the idea of bringing back new challenges, but they could mix and match it a bit. For example, make an outfit inspired by a musical genre using only items from the grocery store!

A menswear challenge?

Definitely loved the food/candy/weird items challenges as well...

I think one of the reasons we're seeing "meh" stuff is the one day challenge constraint. My guess is that this has something to do with the LA location. I'm hoping that in NY, they could do some challenges with longer deadlines. I just remember the exquisite stuff that was turned out in past seasons, with more time.

I echo the "pants" and uniform challenge recommendations. I'd also like to see a fetishwear or corsetry challenge.

1. A Bag Challenge. Create a Bag to go with an outfit. (Could be accessories.)

2. Casual Wear Challenge. No friggin' dresses. Shorts or pants!

3. Music Challenge. Play a piece of music and have them work together to create a collection.

4. Fabric switch challenge. Have the designers buy fabric for a blah, blah challenge then reveal when they return from MOOD they have to switch with another designer.

I would love to see a challenge that is in the middle of the season where... Say... There's 8 designers left and they bring back 8 of the eliminated designers and pair them with the remaining designers in teams of 2. And the twist is that the eliminated designers are the team leaders. Have it be a 2day challenge and on the 2nd day have the remaining designers create an outfit that shows who they are as a designer and why try deserve to be in the competition.

@Robin: I love the idea of costumes for animals and owners.

I'd love to see a Westminster Dog Show inspired challenge. Either design a show costume for a dog and its owner or design an outfit inspired by the show. Or make an outfit out of dog accessories.

Top Chef New York (Season 5) did a great challenge that could be incorporated to PR where they had to cook a dish(es) based on different ethnic neighborhoods. In this challenge the designers would have to design looks inspired by different neighborhoods/suburbs. Now that it is in LA one designer could get Beverly Hills and another Compton. Possibly even have them shop for fabric at in store in the neighborhood rather than Mood.

Do the clothes-off-your-back challenge from season 2, but force the designers to use each others' ensembles - it works on both a design interest and a drama interest, because it will force the designers to work with materials that are an aesthetic that may not be their own. On the drama angle, it makes great television to watch a designer cut, with gusto, into another designer's beloved leather jacket.

I like the idea of having the designers reinterpret classic TV shows into a modern day aesthetic. It really works for an LA backdrop because they can toy with the retro while making it sensible in a contemporary setting.

Also, LA has a vintage scene unlike almost any other in the country, with the offbeat retro fabric stores to prove it. So do a Hollywood, red carpet, starlet pretty dress challenge, but force them to work with fabrics from F&S Fabrics or Esther's.

1. Pick a famous TV series, preferably one known for its fashion (i.e. Mad Men or Desperate Housewives or similar). Each remaining designer gets one of the characters to design a look for.

2. A new movie will be made. Actually, no it won't really be made, but the designers will all have to design different outfits for a movie character that has to be dressed for different situations. This is a role hoping to make an up and coming actress into a star, so all of the looks have to be glamorous and fashion forward (or at least dramatic and suit the character)

3. Each designer is assigned a random red carpet ceremony and a random celebrity. They would have to design a red carpet dress for an actor for a specific ceremony. You might get something like Lady Gaga at the Oscars or Helen Mirren at the Kids Choice Awards. I might do this with 10 designers left, have 5 different red carpet events (Oscars, Emmys, MTV music awards, Kids Choice Awards, Peoples Choice Awards), 2 celebrities a piece.

4. Find a famous fashion icon that wants a really expensive, glamorous dress for an event. Take the designers to a thrift store for fabrics.

5. An avant-garde challenge. However, make sure the designers KNOW what avant-garde is before they go out. Give them a picture book that shows them some of the famous avant-garde looks from the past 100 years. Tell them they expect something similarly revolutionary and unique. If you add another look halfway through, give the designers another 8 hours to finish, so that time isn't on such a crunch.

6. Do an "isolation challenge". Give the designers an Innovation challenge (such as one using unique materials) and them send each one into different rooms for 12 hours so no one can tell what anyone else is doing. That way no one can steal anyone else's idea. Plus you can watch a few people crack under the pressure. You could have a common area where people could go to and chat, but no one is allowed to see anyone else's design.

I think recycling old challenges would be fine, depending on which ones they do. Eventually, they're going to run out of "brand new" challenges anyway. Why not send them into Gristedes, into a New Jersey recycling plant or dressing up drag queens another time? Making pretty dresses is what these people do normally. Toss them out of the comfort zone and make them WORK!

Take the designers to a nice restaurant with a huge menu. Let them order whatever they want, then tell them they have to design an outfit inspired by their meal!

Spiegel catalog has a section showing appropriate for 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, and older. I'd like to see them have to do something for older ages - not just 16-25 y.o.

Separates. Maybe two outfits that may share one component. Even if say they say you have to make a jacket - and give us one casual and one office/work appropriate look.

Suits! - Heidi especially seems to hate WORK appropriate (and no I don't mean "working girls") - and wasn't it MK that ripped on Suede and (shot was it ) Kevin? for jackets.

No sleeveless dresses - if you do sleeveless on top, you must do pants (no cheating by making a jumpsuit) - so formal wear with (long) sleeves. (This isn't just about age - People who live in OH, MI, MN, etc look ridiculous in sleeveless clothing when it is 10 below wind chill.)


Plus size - or perhaps a combination - make the same outfit for at least 2 (greatly) different size women?

Bathing suits. Knits.

I liked the jeans challenge (reconstruct an old garment). Flowers. Uniforms.

1. An S&M inspired leather outfit.
2. A challenge where each garment has to be inspired by traditional wear across the globe. (eg -- elements of kimonos or saris have to be incorporated).
3. A tennis outfit. Guest judge: Maria Sharapova.
5. a futuristic androgynous look.
6. A political statement outfit -- all garments must in some way make a commentary on a political issue that the contestant is passionate about.

Definitely more uniform challenges: flight attendants, hotel receptionists, for example.

I wouldn't mind seeing a makeover challenge similar to the one Chloe won in season two, but save it for the final 4 with this twist:

The designers have to do a head-to-toe makeover of the JUDGES (guest judge could be a fairly regular one, like the fabulous DVF) and maybe even Tim Gunn. A challenge where each of the 4 designers draws either Nina, Heidi, Michael, or Tim as the client they need to design a makeover look for. If the judges can't walk the runway themselves, have models stand in. I suggest Anderson Cooper for Tim Gunn.

I can only imagine the stress at that point in the competition for the designer who draws La Nina. Delicious stress.

The uniform challenge is always a good one. Transforming the everyday into something fabulous makes 'fashion matter.' I think the most interesting results come from designers using unconventional models or clients (see drag queen or female wrestler challenges.) Unconventional materials that force designers to be creative (see grocery store or recycled material challenges.) What I would like to see is a reinterpretation of 'iconic' pieces. This may have been done, but I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

While we're at it, how about past contestants as judges or clients? Uncle Nick and Laura would be excellent to see again!

I would love to see the designers given the same fabric and see what they come up with.



WE homos need to see:
a)hot male models
b)designs for men

I'm wondering -
Can the new production of Project Runway actually recycle any of the old challenges due to legal restrictions?

To me, the best challenges have involved unconventional materials (candy, paper, flowers, etc.) or strict limitations (use all the fabric), and/or challenged basic sewing skills (deconstruction).
So, any challenge that requires serious tailoring and construction skills, blasts them out of comfort zones and requires genuine creativity would be nice to see.

There have been some great suggestions.

some of the challenges from the other versions of PR are actually good. i haven't read every single comment so i'm not sure if these were already pitched in.

1. Get Cher or Lady Gaga as your client. The thing is, you have to take one of her outrageous costumes and make a "tamed" version of it. Like a ready-to-wear version? (PR Philippines S2)

2. Make an avant-garde and a ready to wear from camping materials (PR Canada S2)

3. Modernize a historical look. (PR Canada S1)

4. Pair up with an aufed designer from a previous season and fix their losing dress. Buy only a minimum of 2 yards from mood.

5. Agree with the Drag Queen Challenge as well. OR even better, do a tie up with RuPaul's Drag Race and have the queens there as their clients. (yeah wishful thinking here...)

i'll pitch more soon.

This is so fun!

- The uniform challenge is always lovely.
- How about trying to reinvent and make a winner outfit from a previously loser one.
- They should also bring back the underwear challenge.
- In teams: three or four outfits for a pop/rock artist tour.

1. Design a tennis dress for a well known tennis player. They seem to love to wear pretty, yet very athletic, dresses. - but then they have to know how to make a tennis dress, and the designers in the past certainly did NOT know how to construct a skating dress.

2. Design a football uniform. Many teams have crazy colors and multiple uniforms now. Why not...

i didn't read through all the comments so sorry if i'm repeating an idea, but i love the fashion icon redone style challenge(s).

also, twist the day to night and do a night to day, "walk of shame" challenge! "take this night outfit and turn it into something acceptable for heading into the office..."

i also like the reversible ideas.

and here is one close to my heart....DESIGN FOR PETITE WOMEN.

Someone already used mine but I'll state it again:

PANTS, PANTS, PANTS. Love the idea of everyone getting the same shirt and having to do pants with it.

Polar Fleece--more than just outerwear. Have the designers make an office outfit out of fleece.

I love the "no sew" idea. Maybe incorporate that into the fleece since it technically doesn't need to be sewn.

Recycled challenge: The flower shop. That was a fabulous challenge, and with all the available flowers in LA it should be as easy as in NY.

Also the uniform challenge: Hospital scrubs. Have them work with the scrub material and make scrubs for everyday doctors and nurses (and have everyday nurses and doctors as models).

And finally: WHITE SHIRT challenge. Give every designer the same bottom (i.e. black skirt, pants, jeans..whatever) and have them design the perfect white shirt that can be worn interchanged and still look fabulous.

When the number of remaining designers is equal to the number of eliminated designers, assign each designer one of the eliminated designs and they have to make it into something wearable.
The question is whether it would have to stay within the confines of the original outfit - a new maternity outfit, a new movie genre outfit - or they just have to make something nice looking.

I love so many of these ideas. Recycling challenges would be fine with me if the lawsuit settlement allows them to do so. As for new challenges, here are some more ideas:

1. Design something inspired by a classic car - '56 Chevy, '65 Mustang, Rolls Royce Phantom, MG, '55 Thunderbird, Mini Cooper, Dusenberg, etc. with each designer picking their car out of Heidi's velvet bag
2. Design something based on the designer's birth stone - diamond, pearl, topaz, etc. or have them pick birthstones out of the bag
3. Design something using/inspired by the traditional anniversary gift categories - first year is paper, etc. with the designers picking out of the velvet bag
4. Make a garment out of a mystery bag of fabric, notions, etc. There could be a color designation or maybe nothing at all on the bag with the designers picking the bags randomly.

1. I agree with forcing these designers to use color. The trick: roll of the dice. Each designer has to roll a die, and the number corresponds to how many colors must appear in his/her outfit. An added twist can be that the colors are selected from a button bag. (If designer rolls a four, he/she has to pick four buttons, each indicating a color, from the bag.)

2. Conference wear. When you're giving a presentation in front of people who might be hiring you/writing you tenure letters/otherwise deciding your career, you can't dress too flamboyantly. But "conservative" often translates to "boring". Spruce up the pantsuit for me and Hillary, please. Yes, you have to make pants that fit well. Make it interesting and stylish, but don't get too crazy.

Bring the couture challenge back. That was a fabulous challenge. Twist: the designers have to use recycled materials.

Design an outfit for a funeral. Why not?

I have to agree, these posts are far more interesting than the show has been all season! I also think doing a TLO challenge and having them guest judge would be a wonderful thing!!

So many challenges deserve to be seen again and they've all been listed, and I love the idea of the umbrella challenge from PRCA as ideas of 'new' ones.

So, how about they have to go to the 'by the pound' section of the thrift store and use what they find there?

LOVE the Wedding idea, but how about it could be ALL kinds of couples: GLBT AND Straight- who you got depended on what comes out of the velvet bag? And of course longer than a day to do it.

Bring Back Chris March. I don't care why. Just do it.

And the idea about the Top Chef Spinner is a fabulous one.

I wonder how much they can use or rely upon anything that was on Bravo, though.

AND NO MORE WORTHLESS HOLLYWOOD judges. Lindsay Lohan? Eva Longoria? PUHLEESE NO. Stars are fine IF they have some fashion knowledge beyond what their stylists put them in.

TLO, as always you rock the party. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity!

I think a challenge based on the "Steampunk" ascetic would be amazing! Imagine all the Victorian-esque clothes with modern touches...a great fantastical challenge where "wearable" is a very bad word.

1. Instead of a figure skater, have Sean Avery (from the NY Rangers, hockey player who interned at Vogue a few summers ago) as a guest judge and the challenge is to design new hockey jerseys for the Rangers or some other NHL team, or something else appropriately themed. (I know, this one will never happen, especially on Lifetime, but a girl can dream.)

2. I like the idea of a uniform challenge that others have mentioned. It's creativity with constraints that makes watching the creative process interesting. Of course, it probably won't work with how over produced this show has become on lifetime.

3. Inspiration challenge: I loved it when they gave the designers cameras and they had to pick a subject to inspire them. Andre's gutter water dress stands out to me as something that was really successful in this sort of challenge. I don't know what they could use as inspiration if they stay in LA though, it seems like a dull, fake city. (No offense intended to those who live there, but that's the impression I get from here on the east coast.)

4. Something with unconventional materials, and not something as limited/boring as newspaper. I mean, seriously, newspaper? If that's the only out of the box design challenge we get this season, I'll be (even more) disappointed. The grocery store is a great venue for supplies because it has so many things that people can choose, from produce to vacuum cleaner bags and it really allows people to let loose and create.

They should do a challenge where they have to create a fab gown for an opera singer. They are known for high fashion but tend to be shaped like a real woman and need something that not only looks gorgeous but that they can actually sing in. To make the challenge even more interesting, they could play a snippet of the music she will sing to give them some inspiration to draw from.

Whatever the challenge, give the designers a few more 2 day challenges. I think we've seen less than inspired work partially because they've done a lot of one day challenges.

Design clothes for women who have been housed in a women's shelter due to abuse and are ready to make their way back into the world.

The mentions of dice and spinners caused this one to pop into my head:

Design an avant garde look inspired by a classic board game (Monopoly, Clue, Life, etc). Extra challenge: it is mandatory to include pieces from the board game itself in your design.

Take them to an aviary and let them each pick a different parrot -- macaw, eclectus, quaker, etc. -- as inspiration.

Have them remake a bridesmaid's dress. How many of us have heard "you'll be able to wear that again" to no avail?

1. Create an evening gown using materials from the Army-Navy surplus store.

2. "Mother of the Bride" challenge. Reinvent that classic cliche.

3. Older woman challenge. So many seniors have arthritis and mobility issues, so accomodating that in good design would be nice--and winner gets to sell winning design.

4. Wash and wear. We always have laundry soap sponsors. Design an outfit that can be washed, dried and worn from the dryer.

5. Elementary School Teacher-- runway could actually be after the school day and part of the judging involves how well the outfit performs under real working conditions.

6. Along the disability lines, it would be thrilling to see a challenge that incorprated some of our returning female veterans who are missing limbs or have other mobility issues.

7. "Ready to Wear" After talking to producers who have to make clothing that accomodates multiple body types within a certain size, contestants must produce a dress that is truly ready to wear. The test is that at the last minute, the models change designers.

Joe J. said...

The mentions of dice and spinners caused this one to pop into my head:

Design an avant garde look inspired by a classic board game (Monopoly, Clue, Life, etc). Extra challenge: it is mandatory to include pieces from the board game itself in your design.

YES!! Great idea!!!

you know, if the PR US creative team is losing their creative ideas, they'd better just simply copy paste the PR Australia challanges, cause they're damn fun and fresh! i love that show very much :))

i just thought of this...

and have her as guest judge because she's going to wear it at some conference at some place. (is that even possible?)

Why not have them go to a place like the Salvation Army with a small budget and have them make an entire look from what they find.

Or update their or someone else's favorite childhood look.

Marching bands, working on different characters in a play (then seeing it all work together onstage), the Scarlett O'Hara Challenge, base a look on a type of music (not a performer but the visualization of the music)...

Design something inspired by a piece of furniture.

Love you guys suggestions so far. Esp Hummingbird's idea for a "suprise destination" and Amanda's reinventing a classic idea. And I agree that they need to make them make pants!

I really liked the challenge where they had to use DVF's fabric. It is interesting when they have almost a senior designer to be inspired by.

An interesting "other materials challenge" would be sending them into a craft store and telling them they can't buy fabric.

I hope i'm not repeating anyone, there are so many good ideas here, the PR Producer's have their work cut out!

1) Designers have to take one of their first designs ever (not from the show, but from their career or from school) and re-do it - improve it but don't completely reinvent it. It would be nice to see their pre-show selves and how they've changed.

2) Design an outfit for a cause (NO duplicate causes) and design an outfit based on that cause. All dresses will be silent-auctioned off for a donation to the respective cause and the winning look will receive an extra $$ donation.

3) Have auf'fed designers (preferably mid-season) from past seasons come to partner with current designers for a team challenge.

4) There has to be some sort of toddler challenge. However you'd get around child labor laws, there would be a lot of laughs and drama if this could be worked in...and maybe even some cute clothes!

5) Cartoon Character inspired runway outfit (doesn't have to be wearable in real life, DOES have to be classy)

I could keep going all day.

And i am PRO recycling challenges. Clothes off your back has always been one of my faves.

I don't know who said it first but make TLO judges.


An accessories challenge: design a garment using gloves, hats, socks, belts, scarfs, etc.

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