- Bravo’s “Project Runway” is on its 19th season, but fans might not know everything about it.
- Contestants usually film for 18 hours a day, and the judging process can take up to seven hours.
- Contestants don’t go home immediately after elimination so there aren’t any spoilers.
“We want all their inspiration to come from the things we leave for them and what they can see. We don’t want any outside influence to sway what they’re being inspired by or what their emotional state is,” she said
She went on to say that while driving around New York City, contestants can see news on billboards or hear of current events, but the producers “try to balance it so it doesn’t affect them in a negative way.”
“We have a very close, long-term working relationship with [Mood] and we make sure we’re posted on their schedule so they don’t close too early,” she said. “We tell them, ‘Hey, we’ll be there in 30 minutes,’ and they start closing down the store for us.”
In a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gunn said, “I’m telling you — and I haven’t said this very much — I hated season 14. I hated it. I felt that other than a couple of designers, they weren’t working up to their potential. The whole thing was lackluster.”
He went on to say that he felt season 14’s contestants were not hungry enough and that the judges didn’t offer valuable, constructive feedback to the designers.
Season-two contestant Diana Eng told New York magazine’s The Cut in 2009 that the designers are filmed for 18 hours a day and are often woken up with camera crews looming over them.
Rea confirmed in her interview with The AV Club that the shooting and work schedule for “Project Runway” is as grueling as it sounds. She said that the designers work until around 11 p.m. or 12 a.m., and most of them are up and working before 5 a.m.
“Most people just go back to their old careers and continue to struggle. Fashion design is a cutthroat business. Well established designers go bankrupt right and left. And quite honestly the fashion industry frowns on ‘Project Runway’ and doesn’t take the designers very seriously,” he said.
Former guest judge Teri Agins also expressed that the “Project Runway” winners don’t really get a leg up in the fashion industry after the show.
She told The Washington Post in 2014, “One of the reasons [the show] petered was it failed to do what it claimed it would.”
Per Oprah.com, Gunn said in an interview with the “So Money” podcast, “The first two seasons I wasn’t paid at all and I didn’t know that people were paid for reality television.”
Season-seven winner Seth Aaron Henderson said at a Fashion Week El Paso press conference in 201 that clothes produced by contestants “go up for auction immediately after the show.”
“It’s clearly stated that these may or may not be finished,” joked season nine runner-up Joshua McKinley Cook.
Per New York Daily News, in the past, some of the designs from the show have gone up for auction “as is.”
“We don’t want them relying on other people’s designs or other materials, and we don’t want anyone to have an unfair advantage so we limit their resources to what the necessities are with their dress forms and their scissors and their sewing kits,” she said.
She continued, “We want them to create from what they know, not from a pattern book. It doesn’t help them and it could also be derivative, [and this rule] puts everyone on the same playing field.”
The producer told The AV Club, “From runway show to elimination is about six or seven hours. There are breaks in between to move cameras and stuff, but it takes about seven hours.”
Rea told The AV Club that there is a team dedicated to curating the unusual materials for these challenges.
“We have a team of people whose main job is to sit around and come up with ideas, and they bring them to us and we try to visualize all the different materials,” Rea said.
She continued, “I always like it when they present it to us as a list of what’s in that store. Like, what’s in a hardware store? It helps you say, ‘Well, what would I do? What could they use to make something?’ And then we go with what we think would be the most fun and we try to make it different from a previous season.”
Per The Wrap, at Amazon’s Television Critics Association panel earlier this year, the pair opened up about their decision to leave.
They cited budgetary restrictions and the show’s unchanging format as primary reasons why they chose to pursue another series.
“When you do a show, someone always has to pay for it, and other people want you to do certain things, so you can’t have the creative freedom,” Klum said.
Gunn spoke about the show’s format saying, “We were in a lockstep in a way, in a formula that had been determined in season one. And it perpetuated further into season three, and then eventually into seasons 10 through 16, and we couldn’t break out of it.”
Speaking at the same Fashion Week El Paso press conference, he said, “They don’t let you go home. They basically keep you sequestered. You all travel in a pack even if you are the first person voted off, you’re there five or six weeks.”
He continued, “They separate you and you go down to the basement and stay down there for 12 to 14 hours. So the people who watch the show can’t tell who is off the show. It’s torture.”
However, in reality, many of the season’s designers create and show collections in an effort to keep audience members from guessing who the actual finalists are.
Culture Map Houston reported that for the season-eight finale, 10 of the season’s 17 competitors created collections for fashion week.
Rea told The AV Club, “[Non-finalists] get the same amount of time and money as a finalist. They also create the same number of looks for their collection. Otherwise, people may be able to figure out who is ‘in’ and who is a ‘decoy’ or an eliminated designer.”