‘Project Runway’ Fatigue: Ideas for a New Format

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The current season of "Project Runway" is something of a departure from the past 10 seasons. In Season 11, the designers are working in teams. It has invigorated the standard "Project Runway" format a bit, though some fans dislike the change.

The fact remains that there are plenty of former "Runway" fans out there who suffer from "Project Runway" fatigue. After nearly a decade on the air, "Runway" has gotten a bit stale. This "teams version" of the show is creative, but the "Runway" series may need an even bigger shake-up to their format in order to draw in new fans and attract old ones. Here are some ideas.

"Project Runway: College Edition"

Some of the most promising contestants in "Runway" history have been fresh out of design school or just starting to learn the basics of design. Why has "Runway" never done a series where all the contestants are students? Pack a "dorm" with college co-eds studying fashion or costume design, and see what they're capable of. Plus, there would be tons of ways the show could incorporate a college theme, both in the challenges and in the structure of the show itself.

"Project Runway: International"

Did you know that "Project Runway" is a global phenomenon? Regional variants of the show exist in Canada, Brazil, Israel, the UK, and many other countries. A Vietnamese version of the show is set to launch next month. Why not have some of the most notable winners and runner-ups from past seasons of the global "Runway" properties come stateside and face off against American competitors? It'll be like the Olympics -- but with better outfits.

"Project Runway: Building a Brand"

One of the highlights of any "Top Chef " season is "Restaurant Wars" -- a challenge that tasks the chefs with not only cooking, but designing a restaurant space, running a working kitchen, and often adapting to setbacks from the previous night's service.

Why can't "Project Runway" do a whole season that has a "Restaurant Wars" level of depth? It would be engrossing to see a whole crop of designers split into teams and tasked with designing and selling their clothes. Watching teams slowly coalesce as they design and decorate a storefront, construct garments, conceive a marketing campaign, and woo clients…what could be finer?

The winner could be based on sales in the store and online, allowing fans at home to actually feel connected to the events of the show and encourage same-night viewership. Moreover, this practical experience might ensure that the winners don't fall off the radar after the show ends.

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