What Project Runway SA needs to do differently for Season 2

Written by Tashi from the blog Tashi's TV on 03 Oct 2018
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Grab your judge's notebooks, strike a fashionista pose on your judge's chairs and let's critique the season...

So the first season of Project Runway South Africa ended on Mzansi Magic on Tuesday (2 October) and was won by... surprise, surprise (NOT)... Kentse Masilo.

The season wrapped with the announcement of Season 2, which put an exclamation mark on the highs and lows of Season 1.

What needs to stay for Season 2 and what needs to go? 

What worked for me in Season 1

The casting

The casting of the designers was spot-on. All 12 of them were perfectly cast, as personalities and as designers. They were charismatic, funny and creative and their design and sewing skills were excellent.

They constantly surprised and amazed me with what they managed to pull-off under their circumstances, much more so than in many of the American seasons. 

The mentor

I was impressed by Gert-Johan Coetzee because of his crazy ties, his honest criticisms of the designer's outfits and his ability to translate these into giggleworthy comments that non-designers like myself could understand.

I always understood what he was talking about when he dissed a design and enjoyed having a guffaw at the contestants' expense.

The production quality

The show looked top class. High quality, hi-def, 21st century technology.


The pace was good. Fast and flashy.


It inspired me to sew. I got my beloved sewing machine out after spending too long without it and I've started sewing again.

What didn't work for me. What needs to change for Season 2.

Over commercialisation

Urgh! I felt extremely annoyed and alienated during the middle episodes of the season because of the over-intrusion and dominance of the sponsors.

It was so overdone it felt like we were watching a home shopping commercial and I ended up feeling embarrassed and awkward every time they showed a close-up shot of one of the sponsor's products or representatives speaking - which was a lot.

It was completely unnecessary to give the sponsors so much airtime to spin their products during these episodes - especially considering the fact that the entire challenge was about their product!

The series is on a pay-TV channel i.e. viewers are already paying to see it, and the production must have had a budget of its own so I don't understand why the episodes had to become glorified advertorials which compromised the artistic integrity of the show.

Censoring of #SebenzaGirl

And don't get me started on the fiasco that happened with Kentse's T-shirt in the finale! She was wearing a #SebenzaGirl T-shirt and the show kept blurring it out - badly. Sometimes you could see it and sometimes you couldn't.

It was clear that the production saw it as a problem after the finale was filmed and tried to get rid of it in post-production.

As for why it was a problem... it was used for a Foschini competition and Project Runway was sponsored by Edgars, who obviously had a heart attack when they saw it.

Next time they either need to relax or the show must make rules about what the designers can't wear but that half-blurring can't happen again - it was an eyesore and highly inappropriate for a show about fashion.

Spoiling of the winner in Episode 2
Jaime's / Kentse's 

Kentse should never have won Episode 2 after winning Episode 1 because it made it so obvious that she was going to win the season, especially because she won with that ridiculous clown outfit when Jaime should have won instead.

Her winning of the episode established her as the show favourite, which was then reinforced by judge Noni Gasa's favouritism of her and the contestants' awareness of this.

I remember thinking it at the time... feeling a sense of knowing she would win the show.

Whether she deserved to win or not is beside the point - the production shouldn't have spoilt the outcome.

Broadcast time too late

The broadcast time of 21h30 was too late. It's a family show but the time isn't appropriate for family viewing. The series hasn't made it to DStv's Top 30 shows and this could be a reason.

The trouble is that Mzansi Magic is so bloated with soapies, there are very few primetime slots available for it. The only time is 20h00, which means it would be up against Generations. Even so, 20h00 would be better.

If a celebrity doesn't commit - fire them!

I was shocked and very huffy when Thandiswa Mazwai didn't turn up for the runway show of the outfits the contestants designed for her in Episode 4.

The designers spent the entire episode creating designs for her and they didn't even get to show them to her because she suddenly had somewhere "more important" to be on the day of their showcase.

It made the show look unimportant and it made King Tha look as if she thought she was too important to care.

If a celebrity's going to be the inspiration for designs then they need to be present for the entire shebang. They must have it written into their contract.

So yes, that's my take on Season 1. What's yours? Do you agree with my proposed changes? What worked for you and what didn't?

Shows in this post: Project Runway South Africa

Channels in this post: Mzansi Magic

1 Comment

04 Oct 2018 12:11

I had only one issue: JUDGES

I've never seen the US version, but I'm guessing it's part of the format for the presenter to have some input durng the judging process. I did not like that. If that's how they want to do it, then they should hire a presenter who is also a fashion expert.

Again, I'm not too clued up about the format. Noni Gasa may be in the fashion industry in some capacity, but I don't believe she has the artistic eye that is needed for a show like this.  She undestands trends, and the technical apsects of the fashion industry, but she is not an artist. That came out a lot throughout the season. 

The Executive Producer made not one, not two but three appearances as a judge on the show. Unnecessary. She is an amazing business woman, but she is not a fashion expert. There are tons and tons of brilliant fashion designers that could've filled those seats. You cannot tell me that they were unavailable to appear on such a huge platform.

I say all of this to say that all the current judges should be scrapped. I really enjoyed Lerato as the host, so maybe if they strengthen the judging panel, Lerato's unnecessary input won't really matter.


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