After the Runway: Season 16, Episode 2: ‘An Unconventional Recycling’

Howdy howdy folks! Time for another recap! Are you all caught up and ready??

If you’re new here, this is how it works: each Monday (-ish), I, Michelle Überreste of ‘Project Runway: Under the Gunn’, and Lu of ‘Scouting Tall’, will offer up our opinions on the top 3 and bottom 3 looks from the previous Thursday night’s episode. Why on Mondays? That gives some time for folks to watch without spoiling things for them.

Okay, let’s get into it!


Ah, the anticipated/dreaded unconventional materials challenge. I’m sure most designers HATE them, and I personally love them. I always enjoy seeing what the designers can come up with, and quite often, they even seem to impress themselves with what they come up with!

Not only was this an unconventional materials challenge, it was also the first team challenge of the season. The folks were divided up into 3 teams of 5: Team “Wabi-Sabi” (my fave!), Team “Ballin’ on a Budget”, and Team “Tsunami”.

Because it’s a team challenge, we’ll review the looks of the team as a whole, as well as the winning look from the top team, and the losing look from the bottom team. Let’s start with the winning team this week.

Team “Ballin’ on a Budget” – Winner: Ayana

Ballin on a Budget

My thoughts on the team: While I liked this team, this was not my favorite team of the night. I felt the earth tones of the collection were a little bit “blah”. My favorite look from this collection was the newsprint babydoll dress. I still think that if the vinyl was more opaque and not so transparent, the newspaper print underneath would have looked a LOT cooler.
My thoughts on Ayana’s look: Ayana’s dress was pretty. I did like the tribal vibe I got from it, and I love that she’s a conservative designer (and that she’s sticking to it).

Michelle’s thoughts on the team: The best part of this entire episode was hearing Tim say “ballin'”. I was kind of surprised this team pulled it out. They seemed really unorganized at first but really benefited from Tim’s critique. I think it put them back on track and this was definitely the most cohesive and fashionable collection for this episode.
Batani – Loved this look. This is exactly what I was hoping she would show since she was saved last episode. The girl looks cool, it looks like something Batani would wear, it looks tribal and also fresh.
Aaron – I kind of hated this look because of how he paired the top and bottom. I love both pieces but not together. The clear shorts with the print are amazing! They have so much volume, though, I wish I would have seen something more form fitting on the top or vice versa.
Kenya – I feel like this look is way too safe. I love the technique of putting the newspaper under the plastic, I love how she chose “fashionesque” photos from the newspaper, she was very selective and thoughtful. I think this dress just looks like a trashed out Cinderella but it DOES flatter her model and seems to be getting a lot of love from the fans. I think it was just too safe and easy.
Brandon – I think the model really loved this look but it seemed really heavy to me and not that flattering. I can kind of see it but it just doesn’t work for me. Obviously, he invented the print that this team used and I think that was successful, but this look just looks like painted paper bags to me.
Michelle’s thoughts on Ayana’s look: I loved this look from far away. It was dramatic and had so much movement and interest. However, up close it looked cheap because of the materials. I think the fringe was cut too thick, it ends up looking more like a Pocahontas costume. However, I agree with her win, I do think she had the best and most fashion forward look from the winning team.

Lu’s thoughts on the team: As a whole, I understand why Team “Ballin’ on a Budget” won; however none of the individual looks left me jazzed. Team Ballin’ on a Budget carried the checkered print throughout their entire collection. Brandon redeemed himself in my eyes this week, in that it seemed that it was his idea to paint the vinyl. My favorite reference to the pattern was in Aaron’s look, which had the checkered paint atop a clear vinyl for the bottom.
Lu’s thoughts on Ayana’s look: I do not agree that this was the best look of “Team Ballin’ on a Budget” or otherwise. There was a comment made by a teammate earlier in the episode that the look was giving off Medieval Times vibes. The look actually reminds me of something that would show up in the wardrobe department from the original Star Wars trilogy. I am a fan of a more modest look coming down the runway, and in turn understand that means that there is going to be more material; however there many too materials incorporated into this look. Ayana commented that her look was to incorporate many materials and be a sort of link to every other look within the collection. I think that would have been better executed on a more abbreviated dress.

And now, the bottom team this week.

Team “Tsunami” – Eliminated: Sentell


My thoughts on the team: I’m certainly in agreement with the bottom team for this week. My favorite thing about the entire collection was the skirt that Amy created from the plastic CD cases. They looked like giant sequins.
My thoughts on Sentell’s look: I will admit that while watching the episode, I was convinced that Shawn should have been sent home, as she was such a drain on the team. But having thought about it more, and looking from more of a design perspective, I have to agree that Sentell was the right choice. The dress just looks like it was made from a garbage bag (which it was). The top part of the dress is okay fitting, but the bottom just looked a mess.

Michelle’s thoughts on the team: A great concept gone horribly wrong. For an unconventional challenge, NO ONE on this team transformed the material except Samantha.
Samantha – The only real fashion in this episode. Some others came close. The braiding and weaving has been done before but at least it was SOMETHING. I fancy the belt she made and woven together, it also had a bit of color. It was pretty flattering on her model as well.
Amy – For an instructor at Otis, one of the most elite fashion schools in the country, this was really unfortunate. The cape was kind of a cool idea, but again it was using the material as fabric. I hated it paired with that skirt, and thought it would have been better with some skinny pants. I loved the skirt in itself but not paired with the top at all.
Shawn – This dress was actually pretty fashionable and I could see it flattering a thinner girl or maybe someone with a smaller waist but it looks really boxy on her given model. The model still looks like she’s enjoying it. It looks a lot less crumpled than Sentell’s garbage bag dress.
Claire – I can’t even believe this came from Claire. There is so much nothing about this outfit. The fabric looks like crinkled garbage bag painted silver (I guess to keep the garbage bag theme alive on this team). The plastic rings still look like trash, and the little peek of gathered “fabric” on the side is reminiscent of her last design. There have only been two challenges so far and she is reusing techniques.
Michelle’s thoughts on Sentell’s look: I’m not sure how he overlooked that this just looked like a garbage bag. Even the design made no sense and wouldn’t have looked much better in real fabric. I’m also not sure why his teammates didn’t tell him how horrible it looked.

Lu’s thoughts on the team: There is a lot to unpack here.
Before moving to the team dynamic, I feel the need to briefly address each of the looks.
– The bottom of Amy’s look was my favorite part of Team Tsunami. The CD cases reminded me of mega-paillettes and paillettes are my favorite detail when it comes to clothing.
– Samantha’s entire outfit was an A+, even though braided clothing during the unconventional challenge is cliche at this point in the series. The entire look fit the model like a glove.
– The skirt of Claire’s look looked similar to the bottom half of her dress from last week: full, with tulle on the underside. (Hopefully she does not turn out to be a one-trick pony a la Kenley Collins and her full skirted party dresses from Season 5.)
– The halter top portion of Shawn’s look was ill fitted. The bottom half of the dress would have been phenomenal if it had been mixed with the top half of Sentell’s look (more about that below).
Can we touch on the group dynamics? Once I saw that the twins were on the same team, I knew it was going to be a disaster and I think several of their teammates knew that it was going to be a disaster, as well. Shawn is awful at time management. The rest of the group carried her through the challenge, to the disadvantage of Sentell, who used the two hours on show day to work on her look instead of doctoring the bottom half of his. When it came to the group therapy session post-runway, the twins threw Sentell and Amy under the bus, the former of which sewed the top portion of Shawn’s look. This is the second week in a row that Shawn was in danger of being sent home, and I was shocked that the judges picked Sentell.
Lu’s thoughts on Sentell’s look: Sentell said himself that he felt confident and that it – his look – was safe enough to pass him through. Before I knew that he was in the bottom, I agreed with his sentiment, because although I was not a fan of the bottom half and the midline detail, I crushed hard on the top half. It was structured and reminded me of Wonder Woman armour. Furthermore, even though the top was fitted, in a challenge where many of the models appeared stiff and made comments that the clothes were not comfortable, Sentell’s model did not. Last thought on the bottom half, it reminded me of a low rent version of one of Sigourney Weaver’s costume’s in Ghostbusters.

And there you have it! What did you all think? Did you agree or disagree? Let us know!


2 thoughts on “After the Runway: Season 16, Episode 2: ‘An Unconventional Recycling’

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