Project Runway: #Streetwear
October 22, 2021 8:38 AM - Season 19, Episode 2 - Subscribe

(From IMDB) In their first individual challenge, the designers take on streetwear - the most relevant and individualized style in fashion. Working with male, female, and nonbinary models, the competitors dig into their unique personal experiences and cultures to create breakout looks to catch the eye of their cool guest judge: social media fashion icon, Wisdom Kaye. Front page spoiler: SWATCH IS STILL ALIVE!!! More spoilers inside.

Oh, the drama, and we're only in episode 2.

Meg, who I liked last week, completely turned that around this week, by motormouthing about something that really wasn't her place to talk about - and kept on and on and on about it even when it ought to have been obvious to her that the conversation (or monologue) was done and done. This all backfired spectacularly (and disastrously) on her later.

I think Christian handled the model swap with Prajje and Coral diplomatically, and I think Coral definitely got the better model, although I totally understand why Prajje needed to swap. Meg's meltdown with Kenneth was partly borne out of exhaustion, but if she'd just said "we're 16 hours into the challenge, I've been patterning and cutting for this model and so, no, it's not fair to ask me to swap at this point" it might have been the end of it, but it very quick went tits up with Meg begrudgingly and belligerently saying that she'd "do it for the race thing", and from there all hell broke loose.

I think Meg was astonished nobody took her side, and as she stormed out of the workroom I was fully expecting her to demand to speak to the manager. It was all very unpleasant and clearly upsetting for the designers, particularly Kenneth. I wasn't surprised Meg didn't return; it'd be hard to come back from that utterly tone-deaf outburst.

It was interesting to see the different takes on streetwear, and clearly some designers struggled more than others, particularly Chastity and Anna. Aaron's look was fabulous, with a great story to it, and I also loved Coral's all-black look, and Zayden's too-cool outfit. But my favourite was Kristina's beautiful, elegant, unusual outfit, which I thought was innovative and looked amazing on the model. I didn't like Prajje's look quite so much, but I can see why the judge's chose it. Nina's reference to Basquiat was spot-on.

Katie's model looked like a children's TV presenter in a horrible mish-mash of patterns and colours. I can't see her lasting long. Darren's outfit was what a 35-year-old man would wear to a fancy dress party if he was dressing as a punk. Kenneth's garment was poorly made and it was clear he'd been badly affected by what had happened in the workroom - asking all the other designers for leftover bits of fabric to make a scrappy patchwork top to represent their unity.

I think the decision not to send anyone home this week was the right one; there'd been a big upset in the workroom which had had a ripple effect on the designers, and they were one down anyway. Giving everyone (especially Kenneth) a second chance was a fair thing to do and they can start next week with (hopefully) a clean and drama-free (ha!) slate.

I thought Wisdom Kaye was an excellent judge, and I could totally see him in Zayden's outfit.

One more thing: the black top Christian wore in the first half of the show was a-maz-ing.
posted by essexjan (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"judge's" Kill me now.
posted by essexjan at 10:05 AM on October 22, 2021

Well, as soon as Christian announced in the workroom that Meg was not coming back, you knew nobody was getting auf’d this week so once again Darren gets a wholly undeserved reprieve. Not that Kenneth’s high vis safety vest was any better. The patchwork idea was reality show gold but he did such an awful job of it.

Meg irked me from the start but she was in a lose-lose situation. Yes, all she needed to say was, Sorry no, have already started cutting. Someone on Reddit pointed out she was trapped by her previous conversation with Prajje so I think there’d be some sub rosa grumbling. She was already super stressed and you have to wonder how contestants are vetted for the show.

Kristina is the Russian woman, right? LOVED her look, even more for it not being a cliche. Katie (sigh). I love her prints, she’s really good at mixing color and pattern but this week I really missed Tim Gunn who would’ve told her flat out to start over. She could’ve salvaged it by making some low-riding elephant bell bottoms and worn with the vest, it would be a nod to Haight Ashbury street wear. It would be a story at least.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:55 AM on October 22, 2021

No one came out of that one looking good--not Meg, not the others, and certainly not the producers. And, yeah, this is an example of how Millennial culture can be...kind of a mess when it comes to the workplace? Sometimes professionalism is a good thing. Early Nina would not have given a rat's ass about a behind-the-scenes drama story, only how the clothes looked.

And, um. In 2021, I can buy a jacket that says "SAY THEIR NAMES" on Canal St. It's a worthy sentiment, but not cutting-edge design.
posted by praemunire at 11:06 AM on October 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

(To be clear, including the slogan didn't make it bad or detract from the design, it just wasn't noteworthy.)
posted by praemunire at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2021

That was such a mess. Meg should have said no to Kenneth--she'd been working on cutting out pieces for a specific model for hours, but I can see why she would feel like she had to switch. But the way she handled it was sooo bad. I mean, it was the way they cut the episode I'm sure, but she mentioned race a gazillion times, even at Mood where she told Christian that she somehow had to pick beige fabric because her model was Asian? WTF? And then to repeatedly tell Kenneth she would switch because of the "race thing" was really gross.

She was clearly feeling the stress, even in last week's episode, and maybe she just broke down, but I was getting "white woman's tears" vibes from that whole workroom scene. And poor Zayden trapped between a screaming Meg and Prajje. I really really like Zayden and I hope he goes far.
posted by ceejaytee at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Well, when she came out with the "I guess I'm only allowed to design for white people!" line she showed her colors and I lost sympathy. But the yelling pile-on was a lot, too. (And--honestly--Meg as a fat slightly older white woman was the lowest-ranking socially of the white people in the room. Not sure if either of the white men designers had done the same thing it would've elicited quite the same type of reaction.) As I think some of them realized later. This is a situation where I feel that Tim probably would've prompted both sides to apologize, but Christian was just like, welp, she left, see ya!
posted by praemunire at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2021

praemunire, I'm wondering how much behind-the-scenes attempted mediation might have gone on, or whether it was more obvious than we saw that Meg wasn't fit to continue. But I agree, Tim, with his decades of experience of dealing with students, would have tried to find a resolution.
posted by essexjan at 12:04 PM on October 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

(Also, every season on their first trip to Mood I'm just ignoring the contestants and looking for Swatch with a mounting worry, so thanks for that.)
posted by praemunire at 3:30 PM on October 22, 2021

Yes, Swatch's continuing longevity is a major concern of mine too.
posted by essexjan at 3:41 PM on October 22, 2021

Meg’s whitesplaining early on already put her on the bottom of the pile.

(No, wait— her look last week did. Really terrible, spouse and I said “Lane Bryant”. Very much in the “hide everything” mode of plus-size fashion from the person who crowed about being a champion of it. I thought the designer who went home at least didn’t dress her model all in dark colors.)

With the model-swap argument, she did everything wrong; said yes when she meant no, lorded it over Kenneth that she’s doing it not as a favor but out of white guilt, told him to zip it when he offered to swap back, false equivalencies, centering herself… Really struck me as someone with deep-seated prejudice who’s performatively acting in the extreme opposite direction to be considered “one of the good ones”. It’s a step in the right direction from racism to antiracism, but like, a very early one. I didn’t realize that she’s mid-30s; I would have guessed much younger, from a small town, just now being exposed to other POVs.
posted by supercres at 11:43 PM on October 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

it was the way they cut the episode I'm sure

Agreed, we see what they want us to see, but I will say it was completely telling of just how out-of-hand Meg got that her new model's first words to her were "Don't yell at me like that". Glad to see her go, I had already noted her as dramatic and annoying last week when she 1. Kept referring to the other team as "The Enemy" and 2. joined two other designers' peaceful meditation time only to ruin it with her sniffling on the bed and crying in the bathroom. Every minute she remained on the show was going to be drama.
posted by donnagirl at 8:23 PM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't have a tv yet in my new apartment (undecided!) so I found both episodes on YouTube. Anyway, the recording for this one was missing a few sections and I missed Swatch, dangit!

Not sure what to say about the meltdown, but Meg was clearly not cut out for reality tv, so much stressing out by the end of just the first episode. So, I do have some sympathy for that. But... so much unnecessary and terrible stuff came out of her mouth, and then doubling down on it.... yikes! I'm glad they didn't talk her into staying with vague promises in order to mine more drama. I do agree Tim may have been able to help in a more diplomatic way (or at least listened kindly and with sympathetic noises and expressions).

I thought the woman should have won with that cool long sleeve thing (that all the judges wanted)! It was nice to see how touched the top designers were to be recognized.
posted by Glinn at 11:26 AM on October 27, 2021

Tim may have been able to help in a more diplomatic way

I fully agree, and this speaks to how out-of-touch usually-older make-nice people like Tim are, IMO. I would have yelled at the TV if some both-sidesism came out of that exchange, anything more sympathetic than, "Hmm, hmm... i can see how that must have been distressing... but you're wrong, and if you feel like you should go, there's the door." Maybe with one "Are you sure?" that IIRC she got from the producer.

No one needed to provide an apology other than her. No one said anything unnecessarily mean to her, they pointed out her hypocrisy. Christian either knew that after being fully apprised or knew enough to stay out of it.
posted by supercres at 2:23 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

A really interesting write up on Reddit that touches on Ask vs Guess culture and follows with Kenneth's "reassurances" that she could totally say no were not an actual out similar to… [okay, a heavy analogy was presented here but someone posted this one in the comments:] …similar to a surprise proposal broadcast on the Jumbotron at a basketball game. There’s a lot more to the post and it’s an excellent summary of a show that we’re still talking about a week later, lol.

Also I’d totally forgotten that Prajje had approached (forget her name) about switching models, she declined. Then somehow Christian was motivated to ask her which set up that Mentor/Mentee imbalance thing.

And as always, a lot of rules remain deliberately murky. Are they allowed to swap models if they are unassigned? What if they are assigned?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:08 PM on October 27, 2021

No one needed to provide an apology other than her.

I agree, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. By diplomatic I didn't mean he wouldn't recognize that Meg was fully at fault. I think he might have made the others feel better if he had listened to them and agreed that what happened was wrong - maybe some of his experiences with blow ups in previous seasons would have helped. (I also think it was a fine decision by Christian not to insert himself.)
posted by Glinn at 6:13 PM on October 27, 2021

No one needed to provide an apology other than her. No one said anything unnecessarily mean to her, they pointed out her hypocrisy.

You can be substantively correct and still not express that in a way that's well-suited to allow you to continue working productively in a group of people. Now, there are definitely many situations in which whether you continue working productively is not and should not be a primary concern. But not all of them.

This is a difference between a random reality drama and one where, at least in theory, the goal is to create some art in (sometimes) collaboration and (almost always) in a working context with professional colleagues.
posted by praemunire at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2021

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