16 Thread-Perfect Designs From the New ‘Project Runway’ Contestants (PHOTOS)

arrow - left
arrow - right
PWG cover
PWG Afa Ah Loo
Afa Ah Loo/Instagram

Afa Ah Loo

This self-taught Samoan designer’s work has graced the halls of Buckingham Palace, and now he’s bringing looks like this red dazzler to Project Runway.

PWG Rakan Shams Aldeen
Rakan Shams Aldeen/Instagram

Rakan Shams Aldeen

Bravo says this Syrian-born designer “loves to play with different volumes and materials to create unique designs,” as seen in this velvet, lace, feather, and bead masterpiece.

PWG Cavanagh Baker
Cavanagh Baker/Instagram

Cavanagh Baker

The Nashville-based designer is the mastermind behind this shimmery gold dress — and we give extra points for pockets.

PWG Tessa Clark
Tessa Clark/Instagram

Tessa Clark

Clark, an Ohio native, describes her aesthetic as “minimal, elevated casual-wear and unrefined luxury.” Check out this sleek black number she created for her line Grind and Glaze.

PWG Bishme Cromartie
Bishme Cromartie/Instagram

Bishme Cromartie

After dressing celebs Andra Day, Mel B, and Niecy Nash, this Maryland-based designer is ready to take Project Runway by storm with daring looks like this ode to plaid.

PWG Venny Etienne
Venny Etienne/Instagram

Venny Etienne

Michelle Williams and Cardi B owe some of their past looks to this Brooklyn native. Here, for example, the “Money” rapper wears his Levenity line’s Chocolate Python Coat.

PWG Jhoan “Sebastian” Grey
Jhoan Grey/Instagram

Jhoan “Sebastian” Grey

Grey’s “sophisticated concepts, unconventional construction methods, and attention to high-end detail” have graced the shelves of his Sebastian stores in the United States and his native Colombia.

PWG Renee Hill
Rene Hill/Instagram

Rene Hill

Despite her mother being a seamstress, this Philly designer didn’t turn to fashion until after she had raised nine kids and ended a 20-year marriage. Good thing she made that career shift — just look at that coat!

PWG Sonia Kasparian
Sonia Kasparian/Instagram

Sonia Kasparian

After studying at the Chicago Art Institute as an elementary school student, Kasparian rose in the ranks at various clothing brands, eventually becoming Director of Global Branding at O’Neil. Now she’s going solo and is designing head-turners like this “raspberry lace” dress.

PWG Kovid Kapoor
Kovid Kapoor/Instagram

Kovid Kapoor

This Brooklyn artist, who grew up in a Himalayan Indian town, studied at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Hyderabad and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

PWG Frankie Lewis
Frankie Lewis/Instagram

Frankie Lewis

This belle of the ball is showing off a bold creation Lewis, a Kentucky native, created for her former fashion line, Ann DeEvelyn.

PWG Lela Orr
Lela Orr/Instagram

Lela Orr

In 2018, this Louisiana designer’s eco-luxury line, Ferrah, went zero-waste and cruelty-free — a stark contrast to many other fashion brands.

PWG Jamall Osterholm
Jamall Osterholm/Instagram

Jamall Osterholm

Osterholm’s third collection strutted down the runway of Spring 2019 New York Fashion Week through a collaboration with the CFDA. In his Bravo bio, the Rhode Island native says he draws his inspiration from his experiences as a queer black man

PWG Nadine Ralliford
Nadine Ralliford/Instagram

Nadine Ralliford

At the urging of her mother, this Jamaican-born designer traveled through Asia and Europe and studied at FIT in New York and FIDM in Los Angeles. Her brand, Ralliford Hall Designers, “features a collection that appeals to women of all ethnicities,” Bravo raves.

PWG Gary Garo Sparo Spampinato
Gary Spampinato/Instagram

Gary “Garo Sparo” Spampinato

Bravo says this New York designer’s specialties include corsetry and couture, as modeled in this photo by one Nicki Minaj,

PWG Hester Sunshine
Hester Sunshine/Instagram

Hester Sunshine

A “fashion outsider” once kicked out of Parsons, this New Mexico native describes her aesthetic as “colorful clown couture with a vintage punk rock edge.”

1 of

Project Runway is headed back to Bravo with Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano taking over hosting duties and Elle editor-in-chief Nina Garcia, designer Brandon Maxwell, and former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth along for the ride as judges.

You’ve already met the Season 17 contestants — now check out their work. We’ve done a deep Instagram dive to find examples of their work, and we fully expect you to pick a frontrunner before the competition kicks off on Thursday, March 14!

Project Runway, Season Premiere, Thursday, March 14, 8/7c, Bravo