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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Project Runway: Junior sews together all the fashion fun and competition of its parent series but does so in a way that focuses on mentorship and positive reinforcement. There are some references to "looking sexy" that are offered within the context of the garments being produced and some minor bickering from time to time. Logos for Mood, Brother, and Seventeen magazine are visible. On occasion there are a few iffy words and an occasional bleeped curse (thanks to judge Kelly Osbourne), but the overall content is mild enough for older tweens to handle.
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What's the story?
From the creators of Project Runway comes PROJECT RUNWAY: JUNIOR, a reality competition featuring teen designers vying for a chance to win some major prizes. Hosted by model Hannah Davis, 12 contestants between the ages of 13 and 17 face design and sewing challenges meant to test their skills. With excitement and high energy, they look for new ideas, construct new garments, and learn along the way with the help of mentor Tim Gunn. After the runway presentation, judges such as former Project Runway winner Christian Soriano, reality celebrity Kelly Osbourne, and magazine fashion director Aya Kanai meticulously look at the garments and determine who will be eliminated. But in a unique twist, if Gunn disagrees with the judges, he has the chance to save a contestant. The winner of the overall competition wins a college scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, a home sewing studio, a spread in Seventeen magazine, and $25,000 to launch his or her line.
Is it any good?
The show features all the fashion fun of the grown-up-oriented series but in a more energetic and positive way. The creativity and skill of the Project Runway: Junior participants is impressive, as is their ability to produce outfits under intense pressure. Their willingness to learn throughout their journey is also refreshing.
The judges aren't easy on the designers, but they offer their criticism more gently than on the original show and carefully note what was done well and what shows potential. Even though it's a softer, gentler Runway, it's still hard to see contestants eliminated thanks to their age and enthusiasm. Nonetheless, watching this next generation of designers compete will appeal to fashionistas of all ages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the work that the contestants do on Project Runway: Junior. How did they learn to design and sew at such a young age? What kinds of things are they still learning? If you were to create your own garments, what would they look like?
What makes something fashionable? What role does the media have in making this determination? What are some of the ways the media markets things to make them seem trendy?
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