The designers hit the streets of New York to find inspiration for 'Seventeen' magazine.
Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Last week the Project Runway Junior producers scared their teen contestants by pairing them with Knicks City Dancers; this week they do it by sending them to talk to the people of New York City. And if you’ve ever been to New York City/seen a movie or TV show about New York City/know anything about New York City, you know that’s not an easy task.

Aya Kanai is the “special guest” on this challenge because — surprise! — it’s the Seventeen magazine challenge. Based on the #OOTD (“outfit of the day”) social media trend, the challenge requires the designers to find inspiration from one look they find on the streets…in 30 minutes.

Rude New Yorkers with blurred faces ignore and completely dismiss these adorable teens. Peytie and Jaxson seem to have the worst time. They can’t get anyone to even look their direction as they timidly say, “hi.” Samantha’s got this, though. As a Brooklynite, she’s ready to “talk to [her] people” — and with all the fashion on 7th Avenue, she finds a man in dirty cargo pants to photograph.

After finding their street fashion, the designers learn that the winning look will be featured in Seventeen magazine. Screaming ensues. They set to work on their looks, but it isn’t long before Tim is back in the workroom for critiques.

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Peytie has a pants, top, and jacket combination that has Tim concerned. The top half is great, but the pants are made out of a fabric that’s reminiscent of a hospital gown. Once Peytie hears that and sees it, she can’t unsee it… The problem is she doesn’t have any other fabric to choose from. Jaxson is in a similar predicament. He’s using white (apparently he didn’t learn from Bridget), and Tim thinks it’s too basic. So in a moment of benevolence, Tim opens Mini Mood for 15 minutes to help those two select new fabrics.

The final six designers continue working until the models arrive, and I’m struck by how amazing these kids are. They’re all so supportive of one another, even in confessionals. When Lifetime announced this show, I was concerned we’d see young diva behavior like on Project Runway Threads, but these kids have been nothing but pleasant and enjoyable to watch.

Anyway, Zach has a problem with his shirt not fitting his model, so he switches tops at the eleventh hour. Jaxson realizes his shirt is too costumey, so he also changes tops; he creates a new one with a gray fabric he had pulled from Mini Mood.

NEXT: #ROTD (Runway of the Day, obvi)

With models dressed and ready, the designers send their #OOTD down the runway.


Aya is the only judge who likes Zachary‘s too-mature look. Kelly does appreciate how he turned a modern-day businessman into a feminine look, but Hannah just sees a black jack dealer. And now all the judges see it, too. Christian wishes that the whole look had been more youthful because the girls of Seventeen magazine wouldn’t wear this.


Jaxson says he struggled because he couldn’t find anyone on the street to give him inspiration…and the judges can clearly see the lack of inspiration here. Hannah was hoping he would give something bright and youthful, but instead she sees two different girls, one who would wear the dress and one who would wear the dowdy jacket. Aya says it’s too basic and missed the mark.


Peytie‘s pant-fabric switcheroo paid off. The judges still aren’t fully on board with her pants (Aya thinks the pants don’t speak to the Seventeen girl), but the top and vest help sway them on the look. Christian says she’s elevated her style, and Hannah thinks being in New York has helped Peytie evolve her style.


Samantha is one of those designers who I understand is a good designer but whose designs I don’t fully get. For example these cargo-inspired gaucho pants — I don’t get them. At. All. But the judges are obsessed. Aya even says the pants “speak to the lives of real people.” I had no idea pants could do that.


The judges know Zach for his formalwear and gowns; he took a risk in showing them something more casual in his girl-on-the-go look, and it didn’t quite pay off. Christian and Hannah say his proportions are off, and Kelly says he missed the bar. Aya gives him a little encouragement, though, and says he just needs to be himself and stick with what he knows.


Maya also created three separate looks, and the judges are fans of them all. Christian says it’s perfectly editorial, and Aya says it’s rich and expensive-looking. All the judges appreciate how the separates could be mixed and matched for a magazine feature, which will be helpful because…

Winner: Maya and Samantha

Out: Zach and Jaxson

Well, that was an emotional ending. Hannah and all the judges were crying; Jaxson and Zach were crying; Tim and the other designers were crying; I was crying. It was definitely the right call, but we’ve all become so attached to these young designers, it’s hard to say goodbye to any of them.

What did y’all think of tonight’s episode? Share your thoughts below or on Twitter @realdalener.

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