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Top 10 Ultimate Project Runway Challenges

VO: Lisa Yang WRITTEN BY: Jessica Walsh

Let’s see how these contestants made it work! For this list, we’re looking for specific challenges and taking finished designs into account, even though the shows in this franchise is known for challenges that are repeated on a seasonal basis. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Project Runway Challenges.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Project%20Runway%20Challenges Special thanks to our user wawam45 for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Jessica Walsh

Top 10 Project Runway Challenges

Let’s see how these contestants made it work! Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Project Runway Challenges.

For this list, we’re looking for specific challenges and taking finished designs into account, even though the shows in this franchise are known for challenges that are repeated on a seasonal basis. Oh, and we’ll only be looking at challenges from the US shows.

#10: Spare Parts

“Fashion That Drives You”

Automobiles are generally how models get to the runway, not what they wear on it. For this season five challenge, the designers were asked to make their outfits out of unconventional materials one would be more likely to find in an auto repair shop - or even in a car factory. Car seat covers for fabric, metal accents, woven seat belts; who knew a Saturn hybrid could yield so many pieces of fashion before the rest headed to the junkyard? This made us look at our own cars in a whole new light!

#9: 3D Bridges

“The Runway’s In 3D!”

In New York, there is no shortage of inspiration for designers to draw from and incorporate in their design. This threefold challenge asked them to do exactly that and draw from the bridges of New York when creating their pieces. Added on to that, the outfit had to be new and experimental - avant garde - and some form of 3D printed materials had to be incorporated in the design. While the designs were over the top and stunning, the 3D printed aspect was minimally used to add a flare and texture to the designs.

#8: Drag Queens

“Good Queen Fun”

Drag queens and “Project Runway” were basically a match made in heaven and we’re actually surprised it took five seasons to get there. However, when it finally did happen, they had a rather fitting judge for the panel: the one and only RuPaul Charles. Rather than working with their normal models, the designers were tasked with dressing Drag Queen clients who knew exactly how to wear their feminine outfits with the right amount of flair. In case you missed it, one of the queens featured was Acid Betty who would later go on to appear in season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race.

#7: Flower Party

“Flower Power”

While cotton is originally from a plant, most designers stay away from using actual flowers as more than accessories next to their designs. This challenge had designers creating the full dress out of flowers and plants directly from the New York Flower District. As with other unconventional challenges, actual use of fabric was a no-no, but the designers could attach the flowers to a muslin base if needed. It should also be noted that a portion of this challenge was repeated in season 11, but we think the best results came from season two.

#6: Lights

“When I Get My Dress in Lights”

The perfect dress with just the right smile can be said to light up the red carpet, and leave it up to this episode of “All Stars” to take that in a whole new literal level. Designers were tasked with creating an avant garde look that incorporated a lighting element and were given access to a range of supplies, including neon glow tape and LED lights. Designers used the materials to create their own textiles and add accents. The smartest paired them with white fabric that stood out for a dramatic punch on the dark runway.

#5: The Rainway

“The Rainway”

We know, we know, it’s yet another avant garde challenge, but trust us, you’ll want to hear about this one. This time, instead of a runway, the models and designs walked down a rainway. In other words, the runway will have full-on water effects and the clothes must be waterproof. So we we’re in for a show of rain slickers and rubber boots, right? Not even close! Instead we were greeted with an array of unique designs and shapes and one very memorable color-changing dress we all wish was in our closets.

#4: Sarah Jessica Parker

“I Started Crying / Money Changes Everything”

Thanks to “Sex and the City”, Sarah Jessica Parker is a style icon known for her exquisite taste in fashion, especially shoes. But that’s not what we got when she was invited on as a guest judge. Instead, designers were asked to be inspired by her own low-priced clothing line, Bitten, and create a two-piece outfit using $15 worth of materials, so that it could be sold at a reasonable price to consumers. The winner, of course, would have their designs sold at an actual store in the same month the episode was aired. Who says you can’t be fashionable and thrifty?

#3: Newspapers

“Fashion Headliners”

What’s black, white and read all over? The designs from this week’s episode! Outfits for this challenge were to be made of newspaper - though muslin could be used as long as it wasn’t seen for infrastructure. As in many other challenges and many other seasons, several of the designers are very adept at taking something that isn’t fabric and making it look better than most traditional ones we could buy at the store.

#2: Design Your Own Fabric

“There’s a Pattern Here”

We admit, this challenge is a staple on almost every season of the show, but that doesn’t stop it from being impressive or memorable. Specifically, we’re talking season 8, where Mondo’s pattern came with a shocking personal confession on his end. Not only was his pattern of black pluses against a purple and yellow background striking as a pair of pants, but also when paired with the personal meaning behind the fabric, it’s really hard to top this fashionable design.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Duct Tape

“A Sticky Situation”


“The Fashion Farm”


“Hard Wear”

#1: The Grocery Store


Talk about starting this show off right; the best runway challenge to date was arguably their first. In this premiere episode, the designers were taken to a grocery store - instead of a fabric shop - and asked to create fashionable outfits out of anything they could find among the shelves. And while this challenge was repeated in season five, we still have to commend the creativity from the first episode.

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