We’ve already had one unconventional material challenge this season on Project Runway, where the designers had to turn Hallmark cards into runway looks. In this episode, we’re being treated to yet another unconventional challenge, but this time it seems to be a little more environmentally friendly.

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Finding Treasure in Trash

There’s a boom box in the designers’ room with a tape from Heidi. She tells them to go to meet Tim, where they can dive into their next challenge.

And it looks like they’ll be diving into a dumpster. Tim and Marie Claire editor-in-chief Ann Fulenwider tell them that they’re to merge the world of technology with fashion by using outdated tech to create a modern and fashionable look. They’ll have to find their unconventional materials from a dumpster and transform them. They’ll have one day for the challenge, and they have create something that is wearable and doesn’t look like what it actually is.

The designers stock up on old floppy discs, phone cables, mouse pads and vinyl records, among other things. Back in the workroom, they hammer away trying to think of ways to use everything they’ve found.

It’s clear that something’s up with Jake. He pulls Tim aside at the start of the day and tells him that he’s been informed that his dog is sick and needs to be put to sleep. Tim is compassionate and tells him he understands the unconditional love of a pet. Jake says the dog has been an emotional rock for him and helped him get through his parents’ deaths. He decides he can’t go on with the competition and he goes home. His fellow designers are very understanding.

Ashley has a lot of polaroids to work with. She’s making her own print and fabric after altering the polaroids. She spends so much time working with the polaroids, though, that she isn’t sure how she’s going to utilize them in a silhouette.

Instead of focusing on making something out of his unconventional materials, Joseph is focused on making something sexy to prove to the judges that he can do more than just be “matronly.” He’s making a sexy top with a short bottom out of cords and he’s thinking about adding switch boards as details.

Laurie is working on an off-the-shoulder dress made of mouse pads. The mouse pads are flapping around on the skirt and Tim thinks it looks a little too gimmicky, but Laurie’s holding fast to her design. She does eventually decide to paint a pattern on it to make it look less like a mouse pad.

Merline is taking advantage of her immunity parachute by creating a look with huge bird-like shoulders made of cords. Tim thinks it looks a little crazy, but Merline is willing to take that risk for this challenge.

Like Laurie, Edmond is working with mouse pads. He’s creating a little black dress with wire details in the back. Tim tells him it looks a little too simple, so he decides to add keys from a keyboard to detail the dress.

Kelly wants her dress to look like armor and not like the steel tubing that it’s made of. She chops it up to make a really unique texture.

Swapnil wants to make an ethereal bridal gown. He has an interesting shape with the cords on the top, but he’s struggling with the rest of the design. He meanders around the workroom without really working on his look. He tells Candice that he’s only been competing thus far to be safe and not to win. She thinks that that’s a losing mentality. Even when it’s an hour left before the runway, he’s out smoking because he’s so unmotivated by this challenge. He’s so focused on just getting through this challenge that he’s completely under-designed his look. He even ends up using muslin on the skirt for the runway.

Lindsey tells Tim that she had a hard time getting inspired on this one. She’s using the white keys from a keyboard and some silver parts from the inside of a radio. She tells Tim that she wants to make a romantic gown, but he suggests making something that will be easier to finish. She decides to use CD sleeves to make a skirt, but she’s doesn’t think it looks especially innovative.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Runway

Joining Nina, Zac and Heidi on the judging panel today are actress Paula Patton and Anne Fulenwider.


Edmond: Nina says there’s a lot of interesting detail and she loves the fringe. Heidi says it’s futuristic, sexy and sophisticated. Anne thinks it looks like it came off the pages of Marie Claire. And Paula says she’d wear it.

Ashley: Nina says it’s so creative; she loves that it’s a dress made out of memories. She thinks it’s futuristic and modern at the same time. Heidi says it’s fun, flirty and sexy with the perfect fit. Zac is inspired by her creative process. He tells her that she has every right to be confident with what she’s made and she really shined in this challenge.

Kelly: Heidi can’t believe that the dress is made of tubing. She says you could wear this dress out and no one would know that it was made of something other than fabric. Zac thinks the textile she’s made is perfect and it hit all the right notes. Anne thinks it’s like a special suit of armor.


Joseph: Zac says the cords are weird on the bottom and he doesn’t think the overall look is very inspired or imaginative. Nina doesn’t think that this look was a creative use of the resources and it seems very safe. Paula likes the use of color but thinks it looks a bit stiff. Anne doesn’t think it looks flattering at all.

Swapnil: Heidi says she likes the top part of the dress, but she doesn’t love it from the waist down. Nina says it looks childish and haphazard. Zac says he is very disappointed with the look and maybe it should go back in the garbage. They also scold him for using too much muslin.

Lindsey: Nina says the skirt looks like tissues sewn together and all of the materials seemed evident without any transformation. Zac says the top looks like bathroom tiles, especially paired with the shower curtain skirt. Heidi says it’s very boring.


Kelly gets her first win of the season for her shiny armor dress. Kelly’s thrilled about her win, obviously, and she’s happy to have immunity for the next round too.

Heidi gives Swapnil a dressing-down before she tells him he’s in. She says he disappointed them and didn’t live up to his potential. But he’s getting another chance.

Joseph, unfortunately, is not so lucky. He’s the one going home. He knows that the judges weren’t necessarily understanding what he’s been doing. Tim tells him his look wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t on par with what everyone else made.

Next time, the designers visit Broadway!

Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV