"Project Runway" is about to make history.
After season 14 contestant Ashley Nell Tipton became the first plus-size winner in the show's history and host Tim Gunn wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post criticizing the lack of plus-size options in the American fashion industry, the hit TV show is about to make some major changes.
For the first time in "Project Runway" history, season 16 contestants will be teamed up with models ranging from size 2 to 12 and up. While the show has worked with non-straight size models in various "real people" challenges, this is the first time that they will be part of the regular cast.
Judge Nina Garcia put it best in her interview with "Good Morning America" anchor Lara Spencer:
“The perception of beauty really changes throughout the times... We went from, like, Twiggy to the supermodel to the waif. Now, happily, the industry is embracing body diversity and so are we. I’m very proud to be a part of a show that has full-figured women, real women, designers designing for women with real body types.”
Tim Gunn talked about his frustration with the show's lack of size inclusivity before, claiming that the "real woman" challenges were always a struggle for the contestants.
"The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why," he wrote. "In the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon."Hopefully, this fresh crop of budding designers won't feel the same way.
The size diversity means the final runway show might be the most inclusive one yet. In fact, it could now feature only non-sample size models. Ashley Nell Tipton set the precedent with her exclusively plus-size show in season 14 — and won.
"Project Runway" Season 16 premieres on August 17 on Bravo.