News & Runway

Finally! Season 16 of ‘Project Runway’ Will Feature Models of Diverse Sizes

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A little under a year ago, Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn wrote a powerful op-ed for The Washington Post in which he decried “the baffling way [the American fashion industry] has turned its back on plus-size women.” Gunn went on to admit that the design competition that writes his checks does little to address this issue. “Every season we have the ‘real women’ challenge (a title I hate), in which the designers create looks for non-models,” wrote Gunn. “The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why; in the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon.”

Now, in an effort to make the Project Runway runway a better reflection of said real world, the reality show’s making a long overdue change. Namely, Project Runway designers will henceforth be teamed with models sizes 2 to 12 — and up. (In the past, outside of the various “real people” challenges, designers were only asked to dress straight-sized models.)

Report: Fall 2017 Was a Banner Season for Runway Diversity, Especially in New York ]

“The perception of beauty really changes throughout the times,” Garcia told Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer. “We went from, like, Twiggy to the supermodel to the waif. Now, happily, the industry is embracing body diversity and so are we. I’m very proud to be a part of a show that has full-figured women, real women, designers designing for women with real body types.”

It follows that Project Runway’ s coming New York Fashion Week presentation may be the most size-diverse in the show’s history, depending on which models make the cut. (At the moment, that record belongs to Ashley Nell Tipton, winner of Season 15, who cast exclusively plus-size models for her final challenge.)

As Garcia pointed out, this decision jives with the fashion world’s growing trend towards inclusion. At long last, models of all sizes, ages and ethnicities are becoming increasingly prominent in mainstream fashion culture. To wit: Just a few months ago, another fashion-centric reality show, America’s Next Top Model, made headlines for eliminating its age restrictions.

Project Runway premieres on August 17 on Bravo. Watch the judges on Good Morning America in the clip below.

[ via Mic ]