Project Runway Junior premiere recap: 'Welcome to New York'
The best of the franchise returns!
They’re back! A new batch of the most creative kids on TV are with us for the next few months.
I’ll be honest: I was worried they might have exhausted the casting search last season, but based on this one episode alone, that was definitely a silly thing to worry about. There are so many talented kids out there!
Let’s meet them, shall we?
A’kai, 13, is from New York and is the most talkative person who’s ever walked into Mood Fabrics.
Allie, 14, is from Dayton, Ohio, and she nearly bursts into tears upon first seeing Tim Gunn.
Cartier, 16, is from Idaho and received very little screentime.
Chelsea, 14, is from California and wants to be adopted by Tim Gunn. (Although, that might just be because she’s mad at her parents for wanting her to be a doctor or lawyer instead of a designer.)
Chris, 17, is from Long Island, and that pretty much explains everything about him.
Hawwaa, 17, is from Minnesota, and she wants people to know that even though she’s Muslim, fashion means you can be whoever you want. (Seriously, how do they find these amazing kids?)
Izzy, 16, is from Michigan and wears sprouting plants on her head. I do not know why, but it makes me feel very old and uncool.
Lucas, 14, is from Florida and must have been hiding from the camera.
Molly, 17, is from Colorado and has participated in numerous fashion weeks before.
Rene, 17, is from Texas and likes to design “bondage couture.” There are children watching, no, there are children on this show, Rene!
Ruby, 14, is from Rhode Island and immediately my favorite.
Tieler, 16, is from Louisiana and has a cool name.
All 12 designers converge on Central Park, where Hannah Davis and Tim come to introduce themselves. The teens scream as if they’re in the presence of fashion gods. And then promptly freak out when they realize they’re starting their challenge immediately. The first challenge is to create a look that showcases who they are as designers, using New York City as inspiration.
After sketching in the park and shopping in Mood, the kids get their first look at the workroom. (A Brother sewing room — what!? Such a shock.) They work for a little bit until Tim comes to do critiques.
Chris tells Tim he’s never made pants without a pattern before, but it’s okay — he’s read about them before. Tim doesn’t seem convinced, but Chris says he’s not nervous. Tim warns Izzy to not overdesign, tells Molly to make her neoprene work, and advises Ruby to add another layer to her skirt.
But the best critiques are Rene’s and Chelsea’s. As soon as Tim walks up to him, Rene says “Hi, dad, how are you?” And then when Tim says he likes his edgy designs, Rene tells the confessional, “Tim confirms my fashion isn’t trash,” which is really all anyone can hope for — except Chelsea. She needs a hug. Luckily, Tim agrees to the hug. But not her dress timeline. He tells her to get moving and she starts panicking.
NEXT: Make it work moments
After Tim tells the designers they’ll only have an hour the next day, Chelsea is about to start hyperventilating, but somehow she throws it together and is able to finish by the next morning along with the other designers.
On the runway, Hannah introduces them to returning judges Kelly Osbourne, Christian Siriano, and Aya Kanai. After the looks walk the runway, all the judges praise them for such an excellent show. And then they promise to give them honest and straightforward critiques as if they were full-fledged designers.
With that in mind, A’kai, Allie, Cartier, Hawwaa, Lucas, and Tieler are sent to the back while the remaining six get feedback.
Chelsea says she pictured a “triple-agent spy assassin” — and lucky for her, it is a vision the judges support. Hannah says the neon on black is great. Kelly says she doesn’t like a center seam in women’s apparel and Chelsea apologizes for her construction not being the best. But Aya shuts her down in the best way possible: She tells her women too often apologize for things they don’t need to apologize for and that Chelsea should be confident.
Aww. We just got a design critique with a side of life lesson. You guys, have I mentioned how much I love this show?
Izzy was inspired by all the runners in Central Park, so she wanted to create an athleisure couture design. Aya likes how she gathered the skirt and was able to create a feminine yet sporty aspect. Hannah says it was breathtaking and Christian says she did a good job balancing the edgy elements.
Chris tells the judges he loves color and pattern, which I’m sure they could tell by now. Christian says he appreciates that kind of aesthetic, but it doesn’t work here. Hannah says she doesn’t feel like she knows who Chris is. Aya says that when everything has emphasis, nothing has emphasis. But Kelly applauds him for his “weird and wonderful mind”…even if he should have taken a less-is-more approach.
At first, Rene tells the judges he designs in positive and negative space, which makes me think he’ll keep the “bondage couture” to himself…but he doesn’t. But it’s okay because the judges love it. Hannah wishes the top were a bit cleaner, although Christian thinks it would have been too vulgar without the jacket. Aya says it’s perfect for a powerful New York woman…which was kind of the whole point of this challenge.
I loved Ruby the moment I “met” her — her name is Ruby, after all! Plus, she’s adorable and soft-spoken and her design is cute. The judges probably think the same thing, but they wish she’d done a little more. Kelly can tell she seems scared to come out of her shell; Christian says it needed a little more wow; and Aya wants the color combo to be more exciting overall.
A vet of the runway already, Molly explains her aesthetic as streetwear with boho elements. Hannah says it IS boho, but it doesn’t seem like something a boho girl would buy. Kelly says there’s too much fabric, and Christian says it feels downright frumpy.
After more deliberation from the judges — how hard would it be to send one of these kids home?! — Izzy and her sprouted headband clinch the win while my favorite, Ruby, goes home. I feel like I cursed her. I’m so sorry, Ruby.
What did you all think of the premiere? Are you excited about this season’s cast? Let us know in the comments!