Those are not the only casting changes this season. While Nina Garcia is back in the judge’s seat, she will be joined this season by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell and former Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth.
How will the show go on without the Tim Gunn factor?
Siriano said during the show’s Television Critics Association press day on Tuesday (January 29, 2019) in Pasadena:
“What’s really great about this season is that, for the first time, the mentor for the designers gets to be a designer. Tim was never a designer. He never worked in the business. He was a teacher. When the designers have a red-carpet challenge, I can actually give them real feedback because I’d just dressed people at the Golden Globes the week before. I’m giving them real, fashion-industry feedback that can, hopefully, only help them.”
As for the models that will be featured on the show, Garcia revealed, “We have full-figured models, we have African-American models, we have our first transgender model in Project Runway this season.”
Also, this season the winning designer will receive more cash, $250,000, which is up from $100,000.
Plus, viewers will be able to vote for their favorite design in an episode and then that look will be available to buy at the network’s website. If the judges’ favorite look is different than the viewers’ choice, it also will be for sale. Contestants whose designs are sold will receive a cut, according to producers.
Here are the 16 designers competing this season: Afa Ah Loo (Samoa); Rakan Shams Aldeen (Homs, Syria); Cavanagh Baker (Nashville, Tenn.); Tessa Clark (Greenville, Ohio); Bishme Cromartie (Baltimore, Md.); Venny Etienne (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Jhoan “Sebastian” Grey (Cali, Colombia); Renee Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.); Sonia Kasparian (Portland, Ore.); Kovid Kapoor (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Frankie Lewis (Louisville, Ky.); Lela Orr (Monroe, La.); Jamall Osterholm (Cranston, R.I.); Nadine Ralliford (Stone Mountain, Ga.); Gary “Garo Sparo” Spampinato (Bayshore, N.Y.); and Hester Sunshine (Santa Fe, N.M.). Click here to learn more about this season’s contestants.
Watch the trailer for the forthcoming season below.
Project Runway season 17 will be comprised of supersized 90-minute episodes and premieres on March 14 at 8 p.m. on Bravo.