The teen designers must create looks for the Knicks City Dancers — but not the Spandex or sparkly kind
Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

If you want to scare a group of teenage designers, tell them that they have to create athletic apparel.

After the Knick City Dancers run out onto the runway, the kids have looks of sheer horror on their faces. And when Tim and Hannah come out to announce they’ll be working with these ladies for the challenge, the room is silent. None of them is excited about Spandex and sparkle.

Luckily, they’re going to be designing for the dancers off the court. Each designer is paired with a dancer, and they must create a fashionable look that satisfies both client and designer tastes. And as Zach informs us, designing for clients is harder than for models (models will wear whatever they’re paid to).

The dancers — a few who don’t look too much older than the teen designers — head up to the workroom to talk concepts and pick out fabric with their partners.

The designers have varying ideas: Zach is matched with Julie, who wants an outfit for a weekend brunch in the city. Norby, Bridget’s client, wants a Bohemian look for her summer trip to Barcelona. (Bridget the grudge girl is dying at having to design Bohemian.) Jaxson and Jessa discuss a bright-colored dress for a family vacay. Samantha is paired with Teal, who wants something edgy, yet professional because she’s graduating soon. Peytie talks with her client, Taylor, about a dress for an anniversary party. And finally, Zachary, gets his perfect match: Alyssa, who wants something “elegant and refined” for her trip to Paris.

With sketches and fabric choices out of the way, the designers get to work, but it isn’t long before half the room hates what they’re doing. Peytie thinks her fabric is too cheap and Zachary thinks his look is too businesslike. Tim to the rescue!

Their mentor comes in for critiques, and his general feedback for everyone is: “It’s fine.” Tim thinks Jaxson’s fabric needs help — and then takes a trip to Mini Mood with him to find something better. Have I mentioned how much I love Tim Gunn this season? He’s just so compassionate yet honest and helpful with these kids. Case in point: He talks Peytie down from crying about her fabric. He tells her the silhouette is great and she already has a pink fabric on her work table that will be an excellent substitute. See? Honest, but helpful.

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Maya is also having problems, and she knows it without Tim having to say it. The black printed pants are spot on, but she has to go to a third option for the top. Tim tells all the designers to watch their construction — it’s getting down to where the judges are looking for small errors because everyone is so strong. And with an “I love you guys,” Tim leaves them to finish their work. (“We love YOU!”)

The next morning, the designers have one and a half hours to finish their looks, prep their clients, and get to the runway. Both Bridget and Samantha have pieces to start and complete (a kimono and a skirt, respectively), but somehow they do it. (For reference, I think it would take me approximately one and a half months to make either of those items.)

NEXT: How many times can they say “It’s fine” in one episode?

With everything finished, the dancers give us one of the most animated runways ever (of course nothing can compete with the Divas of the WWE) before Peytie is announced safe, and the bottom three and top three are judged.


Before Zach can tell the designers about his look, he and his client Julie do a synchronized dance. The dance is cute, but this look is not… according to me. I’m absolutely flabbergasted when the judges love it. Hannah says the fabric choice is nice, which I agree with, and it’s well made, which I also agree with. But then Christian and Aya say how cute the skirt and flattering the fit is, and I’m so confused. Are there any women out there who would wear this skirt? Am I delusional in thinking this skirt is not flattering at all? Commenters, help me out.


Aya starts her critique by asking Maya if it’s her best work, and Maya says no, but she’s happy with what she sent down the runway. And we hear a lot of “It’s fine!” (Not sure why everyone is overusing this phrase this week.) Because Maya’s client wanted a New Year’s Eve look, Christian wishes it had been pushed to the edge more. Hannah is a fan of the pants, but uses the word “basic” in not a Taylor-Swift-is-basic kind of way.


Zachary and Alyssa really were the perfect pair. This effortless Parisian jumpsuit is a hit with the judges. Kelly is “obsessed” with the back with small cross straps, the olive color he used, and just generally the whole thing. Aya loves the tuxedo stripe detail on the pant. Hannah wants to wear it (so do I), but the one thing all the judges — and Zachary — agrees on is that the hem is off. “The OCD is so real on this show,” he says.


Bridget is a rocker girl, so being paired with the Bohemian Norby was a struggle for her. She thought she could merge their two styles with a white skirt and crop top with a colorful kimono over the top. The judges don’t think she quite achieved that mashup. Christian says there’s nothing Bohemian about the look, while Hannah says it looks like two separate looks. And Aya goes for the gut punch: “This is Project Runway, not Project Bargain Basement.


The minute Jaxson started working with this printed fabric I saw the writing on the walls. It’s loud and gets referred to as a “circus tent.” Hannah has a love/hate relationship with the dress: She thinks the top is impeccable, but she hates the skirt. Kelly agrees and says because Jaxson didn’t put darts in the skirt, it left the model with no shape.


Aya wrote “Samantha is back,” on her judging card, but again, I’m scratching my head. I don’t think I’ve seen a denim skirt since 1999 — and I’m not sure I want to, especially if it’s paired with a bright orange top and an oversized hunter green jacket. But the judges love it: Hannah apparently loves that specific color combo (does she go hunting much?), and Christian thinks the inspiration is great. Kelly likes it, but she does point out that the last-minute execution of the skirt is poor.

Winner: Zach

Out: Bridget

I was confused by the judges’ praise of Zach’s look and I’m even more confused that they gave him the win. In my book, it was Zachary’s, hands down. What do you think, Runway fans?

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