Will “Project Runway” Host a Plus-Sized Season?

Lindsay Cronin | Jul 11, 2014

For years, “Project Runway” has featured clothing made for super skinny models and Tim Gunn says he’s had enough.

During a reality TV discussion with fellow reality heavyweights, including Carson Daly and Jeff Probst, Gunn talked about doing a plus-sized season of “Project Runway.”

“I would like to do a season of Project Runway where every model is larger than a size 12,” Gunn said.

Daly was on board with the idea and thinks “that’s a great idea.”

If “Project Runway” did host a plus-sized season, they wouldn’t be the first reality series to do so. In 2008, “America’s Next Top Model” launched a season featuring plus-sized models competing for a contract with Elite Model Management, a pictorial in Seventeen Magazine and a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics worth $100,000.

Although many applauded The CW for featuring women who weren’t pin-thin on their series, the show saw a significant drop in the ratings, from 5.12 million viewers per episode during season nine to 4.23 during season 10. After season 10, the network returned to their previous format.

Still, Gunn would love to have plus-sized models come to “Project Runway” and feels giving full-figured women more options is a step the fashion industry needs to take.

“When I’m working in the real world with real women and we’re shopping, we find that fashion seems to end when you get any larger than a size 12,” Gunn explained to “The Huffington Post” in 2013. “How ridiculous is that?”

In America, the average dress size is 14, so having designers focus on those who are much smaller doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s limiting the brand’s exposure and their finances. If they don’t make clothing for the average woman, than the majority of women aren’t going to be buying their goods. As a company, do they not want to maximize sales?

“Go to Lord and Taylor on Fifth Avenue, I think it’s the eighth floor, and it’s just a department called ‘Woman.’ It’s rather devastating,” Gunn said. ”You’ve never seen such hideous clothes in your entire life. I mean, it’s simply appalling. Thank God there are no windows on that floor, because if I were a size 18, I’d throw myself out the window [after seeing those clothes]. It’s insulting what these designers do to these women.”

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