Project Runway Season 12: HP Intel Challenge


There was a lot of pressure on Project Runway Season 12 Episode 11 because the remaining seven competitors had to design their own textile prints inspired by next generation innovators for the HP/Intel Textile Challenge.


As the designers were creating their prints on the new HP Rove…I could not help but flashback to my time at the Auburn University Project Design Week 2012 where I had the opportunity to experience some of the classes of a fashion design major. During fashion camp, I got to play around with draping, making prints on the computer, and participating in lots of other fun activities! I would love to go back–the VIP had so much fun at Auburn Project Design Week! Whoopsy….I guess I got a little distracted there. Let’s get back to Project Runway!

Once the designers had their textiles designed, they embarked on their usual trip to Mood where they had a suggested GoBank spending budget of $100. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a GoBank card, an HP Rove, AND a Belk accessories wall?! Oh…it most definitely would! Okay, Birthday Fairy and Santa, why don’t y’all get on that for me *wink wink*


Time to Hit the Runway:


As soon as Dom’s model hit the runway wearing the brightly colored garment inspired by Premal Shah…I just knew that she was the clear winner. Dom truly grasped the object of this challenge and DOMinated it! See what I did there *wink, wink*


Call me crazy, but I actually liked this look by designer Alexander. I thought it was very artsy and futuristic chic; however, the judges disagreed. I was so sad to see Alexander go home because of this garment. “I guess I should not mix religion and cake together anymore…except for at a wedding,” said Alexander jokingly on Episode 11.


I am choking up just typing this…I was literally crying when they sent Kate Pankoke home. No, the garment was not very well executed…but Kate is talented and fabulous. Kate, keep reaching for the stars!

Phew…Episode 11 was quite the humdinger! I cannot wait to see what the designers will be bringing to the table on the next challenge!

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Project Runway: Belk Challenge Season 12 Episode 9

THE REMAINING NINE (back row from left to right) Jeremy, Brandon, Alexander, Alexandria (front row from left to right) Kate, Ken, Dom, Helen, Justin
(back row from left to right) Jeremy, Brandon, Alexander, Alexandria
(front row from left to right) Kate, Ken, Dom, Helen, Justin

Heidi: “Are you impressed that you’re still here?”

All of the designers: “Yes!” *nodding their heads*

Southern style brunch on Project Runway Season 12 Episode 9.
Southern style brunch on Project Runway Season 12 Episode 9.

Hey y’all!–imagine my saying this in my most genuine Southern Belle accent–Are y’all ready for the VIP’s weekly recap of Project Runway?


Tim Gunn: “She is a modern Southern woman…She is the Belk customer…She dresses vibrantly and impressively. She is always fashionably put together. She knows how to use accessories, and she loves color and anything with feminine detail.”

Me: “Mom, I think Tim Gunn just described me perfectly!”

Mom: “Sweetheart, he just described every true Southern lady perfectly.”

Ken purchasing his fabric at Mood with his GoBank card. Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Ken purchasing his fabric at Mood with his GoBank card.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

After their classy Southern brunch and thirty-minute sketching time, the designers were given thirty minutes in Mood to find their fabric and were given a suggested GoBank spending budget of $200–$250. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a $200–$250 GoBank shopping budget at Belk? I can imagine myself walking out of those doors with bags of fabulous attire, accessories, and sweet high heels. Do I have a shopping addiction? Sure, some would call it that…now, back to Project Runway!

With one day to create their looks, the designers were antsy about creating something that a modern Southern woman would wear.

Helen: “I do not design for the modern Southern woman…this is way out of my comfort zone.”

Alexander: “I do not dress like a modern Southern woman…just like a modern 80s woman.”

When time was up in the workroom, Tim Gunn (looking dashing as always) escorted the designers and models to the runway.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The winner of this challenge was Brandon. I liked the concept of his design; however, I am not too crazy about the plaid. I can definitely see this dress in vibrant colors and a pretty, flowy fabric…perhaps then…the true modern Southern woman would snatch it off the rack at Belk. Kudos for the fabulous design concept, Brandon! Boo on the plaid!


Heidi: “We think you all did not fully understand the concept of this challenge, and you all could benefit from a little bit more time…For the first time in Project Runway history, I’m going to send you back to the workroom. Right now—you will have one hour to work on your look, and to give you a little help, each of you can choose one fellow designer. You have access to all of the fabrics in the workroom….”

So…Designers Dom, Jeremy, and Ken were sent back to the workroom…all I could think was good luck, my darlings!

Designer Dom's second look. The second winning look of this challenge.
Designer Dom’s second look. The second winning look of this challenge.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

I LOVE THIS DRESS! Just so all of you know….when this dress arrives at Belk, I will be running to get it!

Designer Jeremy's first look.
Designer Jeremy’s first look.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Bless his heart…Despite Jeremy’s valiant effort, he was sent home. I was very sad to see him go because I am going to miss his wonderful designs and especially his British accent.
Ken Laurence's first look.
Ken Laurence’s first look.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Ken Laurence's second look.
Ken Laurence’s second look.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

After watching Episode 9, I chatted with Ken about the challenge and his two spectacular garments.

Me: “If you could have created a completely new garment, what would you have created?”

Ken: “I would have created the exact same dress in a different fabric. My goal was to find a lighter, more flowy fabric, but I ran out of time in Mood…and the color was most important.”

Me: “What was the concept behind your first design?”

Ken: “I wanted to design something that I witnessed selling on a day-to-day basis when I worked as a stylist at BCBG–before Project Runway. Southern women came in looking for maxi dresses that were simple, easy-to-wear, and could be accessorized for all occasions. Another factor I tried to think about was the climate here in Alabama, and that was why I wanted to go with a lighter fabric.”

Me: “What was your goal when you went back to the workroom to modify your look?”

Ken: “My main goal was to just have a dress…I was not thinking about the modern Southern woman anymore…I was just thinking about giving the judges a different look. In my original sketch, I actually created a silhouette similar to the one in my second look so I just went with it.

Personally, I loved designer Ken’s first look the most! I loved the fact that it could be easily accessorized…we all know how much the VIP loves her accessories!


Phew…this episode was quite the humdinger! I cannot wait to see what Episode 10 has to offer!

Don’t forget to live tweet with YOUR favorite designer by using the hashtags below!









Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Project Runway: Season 12 Episode 7


Hello, my fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog! Today, I am going to chat about Project Runway Season 12 Episode 7, and the absolutely breathtaking and “man-eating” LBD that designer Ken created. Come on, let’s get to conversing about Project Runway!


When Heidi Klum announced that the designers would be taking a field trip to the Marie Claire fashion closet…my jaw dropped because I wanna go to the Marie Claire fashion closet!

Upon their arrival, Tim Gunn and Anne Fulenwider (Editor-and-Chief of Marie Claire) informed the designers that they were to pick a pair of shoes from the closet to be their inspiration for this challenge. Sounds simple…what’s the catch?

Designer Dom: “What are those buzzers for?”

Me: “Ah…there’s the catch.”

Yep, you guessed it…a fashion quiz. When the designer that pressed the buzzer answered the question correctly, he/she got to choose his/her favorite pair of shoes from the pre-selected group.


“As a self-taught fashion designer against all of these educated individuals, I’m very nervous, and hopefully I’m not the last person to pick my shoes,” stated Ken Laurence on Episode 7 before the fashion quiz began. Now…what was the first question…and who answered it?


Anne: “Christian Louis Vuitton’s famous red shoe soul was inspired by one of his employee’s what?”

Ken: *clicking his buzzer quickly* “fingernail polish”

Me: *shouting at the television* “WHOOP WHOOP! Way to go Ken!”


Occasionally, I do yell at the TV while watching Project Runway…my neighbors probably think I am crazy…or perhaps they just think I get excited about the 9 o’clock news.  Speaking of news, the new weather guy is a cutie….Anyway, back to the recap.


After all of the designers had shoes in hand, they were given twenty minutes to sketch their garments.


Ken: “I feel like for these last challenges I keep referring back to the same silhouette. So, I want to switch it up and sew something completely different. I plan on creating this jacket dress with volume around the hips and in the sleeves.”


Fashion Quiz passed:  Check.

Shoes picked:  Check.

Garment sketched:  Check.

Now, off to Mood!


Designers using their GoBank smartphone apps at Mood!  Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Designers using their GoBank smartphone apps at Mood!
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

With a suggested GoBank spending budget of $250 and thirty minutes to shop, the designers raced to find fabric. Man….I would love to have to have a $250 GoBank budget to shop at Belk…Mhmm…every Southern fashionista’s dream.


Tim Gunn made his way around the work room talking to each designer about his/her garment. Every episode…I fall more and more in love with Tim Gunn’s fabulous fashion taste…I love you Tim!

Ken: “These are the shoes I picked.”

Tim: “Yes, they’re great!”

Ken: “I love them…So, the first thing that came to my mind was this coat dress…it’s going to be fitted and balloon out towards the bottom.”

Tim: “Here’s what concerns me–it is looking dated.”

Ken: “I’m taking Tim’s advice.”

Even though I loved Ken’s original design concept (I am a sucker for anything big and overstated…my hair is a prime example of this); however, taking Tim Gunn’s advice was the best thing Ken could have done.

Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

When designer Ken’s model hit the runway…I yelled at the TV once more.

Me: “OH MY GRACIOUS! It is so very perfect! I need this!”

Mom: “Abby, calm down. You’re going to disturb the neighbors.”

Me: “Maybe they should watch Project Runway…they would also yell at the TV.”

After I calmed down, I had to rewind to see what designer Ken had said about his design–thank goodness for DVR.

Ken: “I just want to scream at the top of my lungs because it’s  perfect for the shoes I chose…it’s bon chic. I love it.”

Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

Ken played a magnificent wild card in the Uno game of Project Runway by making his LBD modern and sleek with a little touch of sultry mystery. The textured fabric and oversized peplum were his garments powerful weapons on this challenge.


Ken’s “man-eater” dress impressed the Creative Director AND the Editor-and-Chief of Marie Claire magazine…talk about a hard thing to do. Even if Ken did not take home the win for this challenge, those compliments are trophies in themselves.

Maria: “You struck a great balance here!”

Anne: “She can take over the world in that dress!”

I have to agree with Anee…if I had that magnificently constructed LBD in my wardrobe…I could totally rule the world. *cue Beyoncé’s “Run the World”*


To conclude this VIP Project Runway recap blog, I ventured into the Twittersphere to see what positive things people were saying about #DesignerKen…

photo 2.PNG2 photo 1.PNG1 photo 1 photo 2

Phew….can you believe it? Episode 8 is almost here…Oh, I just cannot wait to see what fabulous things the designers will be bringing to the table!

30 Day J.Crew Challenge: Weekly Whistle

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Project Runway: Season 12 Episode 6


Hello, my fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog! Today, I am going to chat about Project Runway Season 12 Episode 6 along with some exclusive commentary from designer Ken Laurence! Whoo hoo! Come on, let’s get to chatting!


My first thoughts when Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn announced that the designers were going on a camping trip–I mean glamping trip, which was sponsored by ReSource water–are as follows:

  1. Oh, I so need that jumpsuit Heidi is wearing. I wonder where she got it???
  2. Is that…Tim Gunn…in a…camouflage suit…no way…???
  3. Tim Gunn actually looks quite dashing in that camo suit! It is official. Tim Gunn can pull off anything and everything. Fabulous.
  4. What is…glamping?

Glamping? What? Huh? According to the Tim-Gunn Fashion Dictionary, “glamping is how fashion designers camp.” Oh, okay–that makes much more sense. Hmm…still not sure how I feel about glamping….I wonder if I could glamp? Sure, as long as my tent has air conditioning, a mini fridge full of my favorite snacks and beverages, WiFi, and a comfy, fluffy bed. Anyway, this is not about me–back to Project Runway!

On the glamping trip, the remaining designers were to use the lovely outdoor activities and the scenes of nature to kick-start their creativity for this one-day challenge. After relaxing and having some ziplining fun, the designers entered a tranquil mindset and began sketching garment ideas to reflect Mother Nature–all while creating a look that was very high-end and editorial.


“People think that since I am from the South that I am a nature boy. I don’t wanna’ walk in the dirt, I don’t wanna’ be bitten by bugs, and I am not sleeping in a tent,” explained designer Ken.


After Ken made this remark, I just had to ask him about his glamping experience…I must admit I am not one to enjoy bug bites or sleeping in a tent. *itchy-scratchy, itchy-scratchy*

Abby:  “What was your favorite activity during the glamping trip?”

Ken:  “Abby, I loved everything besides sleeping in the tent lol. But, glamping is amazing.”


Abby:  “Do you remember what you were reading in your Bible while you were sitting by the stream?”

Ken: “Looking around and seeing nature from that standpoint, I thought about God creating the world. So, as I sat by the stream I began to reflect on the book of Genesis.”

Oh! My favorite designers ever! Justin, Jeremy, and Ken, I absolutely adore y’all. You guys amaze me with your fabulous work each week!



Designers Karen and Ken using their mobile GoBank apps at Mood!  Image provided by the Weinstein Company.
Designers Karen and Ken using their mobile GoBank apps at Mood!
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

After the glamping trip, the designers went shopping for their materials at Mood with a suggested GoBank spending budget of $300.

“I have no idea what I am going to create. Walking down the aisles at Mood, I see this wool fabric, and it automatically made me think of nature. It’s perfect,” stated Ken Laurence on Episode 6.



Comedic relief moment: As designer Ken and Jeremy were getting ready for the judging day…well, let me put this in dialogue for simplicity.

Ken:  “So, you have immunity today.

Jeremy: “Yes, I do.”

Ken: “Can I purchase that with my GoBank card?”

Immediately, my entire family bursts into laughter–even my dad. Because of my Project Runway recap blogs, not only has my dad started watching the show, but my grandparents are also addicted to the fabulousness. Yes, it’s true. Am I proud? Absolutely.

Image provided by the Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

On the subject of Ken Laurence and his garment, I truly loved it! Despite what the judges said, I loved his “Mother Nature” concept.

Abby:  “I loved the concept of your design and your model’s hair. I do not feel like the judges gave you proper time to explain the idea….How did you feel when the judges did not understand or like your concept?”

Ken:  “We have more time to explain our designs [than is shown]. We are actually standing on the runway for an hour or so. Keep in mind everything is edited for TV. I think I was at the bottom for two reasons. One, the construction flattened my model’s chest. I knew that after I had sewn it down, but I didn’t have the time to redo it. Secondly, I should have taken it a little more over the top. They [the judges] respond well to things like that sometimes; however, they pick what they personally like and dislike….”



Okay, so I must save the chit chat for another time and another media outlet ( for one of the most emotional things I have ever watched on reality TV….

When Designer Justin was eliminated…I was so upset…I cried like a little baby…well, like a high school girl whose boyfriend broke up with her the night before prom….Thankfully, super hero Tim Gunn swept in and used his “Tim Gunn Save” on the precious designer Justin. Oh, I am so so SO happy that Tim Gunn rescued Justin from going home. The show would not be the same without his genuinely kind spirit! Tim Gunn explained to Justin that he had such fabulous potential to do amazing things on the show–I concur with this statement.


Abby:  “What was your first thought when Tim Gunn used his ‘Tim Gunn Save’ on designer Justin?”

Ken:  “Everyone on the show knows I LOVE Justin and Jeremy! (They were my roommates [on Project Runway].) I was so happy…it shows the judges pick what they like and don’t. Honestly, my garment and Karen’s garments were worse than his – sometimes I don’t get the judges. Lol”

Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company

Is it just me…or should every designer get some sort of special Project Runway Girl Scout patch or at least a box of Thin Mints? Oh, thin mints are so delicious! Those new Girl Scout Cookie Nestle Crunch candy bars do not do justice for the actual cookies. Anyway, each designer deserves a merit badge and a box of cookies for their tremendous effort on Episode 6!


Phew…this was quite the emotional episode. I am so excited to see what Episode 7 of Project Runway Season 12 has in store for us! Is it Thursday yet? Hey, momma, is it Thursday yet?

Y’all be sure to come back next week for yet another fabulous Project Runway recap!

To see more exclusive commentary from Ken Laurence on Episode 7, please visit!

Be sure to like Real Media on Facebook to keep up with the latest article updates! Click here.

Keep up with designer Ken by liking his Facebook page here!

Also, do not forget to TWEET LIVE WITH THE DESIGNER during Episode 7 of Project Runway Season 12 by using the hashtag #DesignerKen. Follow Ken Laurence by clicking here.

For more recaps of Project Runway, check out Ken Laurence’s blog “Behind the Seams” here.

Ken_Abby 1

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Project Runway: Season 12 Episode 5


Hello, my fabulouses! Do y’all remember those group projects in high school where the teacher “randomly” picked the members?  Yeah, me too…I can remember getting placed on teams that were…not so great. I don’t know about y’all, but I am glad a TV crew was not there filming my facial expressions, comments, and blurts.


Project Runway Season 12 Episode 5 reminded me so much of a “poster board, PowerPoint, in front of your class presentation” project.  Let’s take a look inside the classroom…

Teacher: “Abby, Susie, and Alex are in a group together. You have two class days to complete the assignment.”

Abby: *rolls eyes*

Susie: “Are you going to help me design the PowerPoint from scratch? I have no idea how to work that program on this computer.”

Abby: “Sure, Susie…but you really need to learn how to do it yourself.”

Susie: “Well, I know how to…just not on this computer.”

Alex: “We need to make sure we get this done as quickly as possible because we need A’s–we need A’s!”

Abby: “Okay, we do need A’s, but we also need to make a plan on how we are going to do this–who is going to do what–create a schedule so we manage our time well.”

Alex: “We just need to make this group project fun and get A’s”

Susie: “Yeah, I totally agree!”

*later that day*

Abby: “Susie, have you even started working on the PowerPoint yet?”

Susie: “No, I do not know how to use the PowerPoint program on this computer.”

Abby: *rolls eyes*

Susie: “Stop rolling your eyes at me. That is rude.”

Alex: *whispering to Susie* “Abby is like dealing with a fashionista diva.”

So, what has this cheesy dialogue taught us? That we have all experienced an Episode 5 “group project disaster” at some point in our lives…and if you have never participated in graded group work…consider yourself blessed.


Instead of blogging a recap of episode 5…mainly because it reminds me too much of my freshman year in high school…and the movie Mean Girls…and Easy A, I am going to talk about the importance of a budget, the sweetest moment, and the most ridiculous thing I have quiet possibly ever heard.

Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

Now, let’s talk budget. Tim Gunn explained to the designer teams that they were to create a luxe, high-end mini collection with a suggested GoBank spending budget of $1,500 to buy the materials for this unconventional challenge. If my math serves me correctly…that is $500 for each individual. The designers were to choose two out of the three following shops from which to purchase their items: Second Hand Rose (a vintage wallpaper store), Surprise! Surprise! (a home décor and party store), and Garden of Eden (a specialty food store).

Designers Kate, Jeremy and Karen using GoBank card to purchase some of their materials for episode 5.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

Speaking of working with a budget…Ken Laurence has been a very conscientious spender on the first four episodes of Project Runway. I highly admire designer Ken for managing the $4,000 season GoBank budget because in “the real world” there is not an endless cash flow for up-and-coming fashion designers.

After reading the article “What people are saying about Birmingham’s Ken Laurence on Project Runway” by Mary Colurso and checking out the #designerKen tweets on Twitter, I decided that I must contact Ken to get HIS point of view.

Ken_Abby 1

Me: I read the article “What people are saying about Birmingham’s Ken Laurence on Project Runway“…I found some of the statements in the write-up to be a tad bit harsh and overstated–I do not see you as a villain nor Kanye West. How do you feel about the comments made about you in this Project Runway Season 5 recap?

Ken: Honestly, it almost hurt because I TRY so hard to be nice to people and remain humble…but, I’m human! And when I’m frustrated, I voice my opinion. I would be “acting” if I didn’t voice my opinion. It’s reality TV!

Me: You have been so responsible and aware of each challenge’s budget in episodes 1-4…How did you feel with your team members disregard of the budget?

Ken: I was bothered, and I wanted to use our money wisely. We were put on a set budget of $4000.00, and once that money was gone – it was gone! I didn’t want to be standing in the long run with no money left.

Okay–enough about budget! It is time to chat about the sweetest moment…and the most ridiculous moment!


The sweetest moment thus far on Project Runway Season 12–besides designer Brandon proposing to his boyfriend on episode 4, which that was totally amazing…I cried…a lot–Anyway, the sweetest moment on episode 5 was when designer Justin video chatted with his super precious family and began to cry. Justin…I was crying right there with you, buddy! It was such a lovely moment, and I am so glad Lifetime included it. The scene added a tad bit of peace to the overall spicy episode.


The most ridiculous moment I have witnessed on Project Runway Season 12 thus far was when designer Alexandria made a testy comment in response to Project Runway judge Nina Garcia’s (Creative Director at Marie Claire) question.


Nina:  “Did you have a problem dealing with Ken?”

Alexandria:  “…There’s no time for the drama, there’s no time to argue…you just want to pet the cat and make it calm.


After the judges dismissed the designers from the runway to get a closer look, Ken voiced his opinion of this “pet the kitty” comment.

Ken: “…I’m just going to sit here in silence. I do not want anyone to feel uncomfortable or feel like they’re walking on glass or like they have to pet the kitty…”

*Pet the cat and make it calm? Really…is that the best you could do, Alexandria? Come on, girl…watch Mean Girls and Easy A to gain some new sly comments.


Okay…it is time to get back to Abby, Susie, and Alex’s group project. Did they get A’s or F’s? You guessed it–epic fail.  Why was this group project an epic fail?  This group project was an epic fail because Susie lacked the skills, Alex wanted an “A”–but did not want to work for it, and Abby was left to save herself and salvage what she could.  At the end of the day, every collaboration project failure can be summed up with a scene from one of my favorite movies ever–Cool Hand Luke. “…What we’ve got here is failure to communicate….”

*School bell rings*

Teacher: “Okay, class is dismissed. See y’all tomorrow.”


Y’all don’t forget to vote for Ken Laurence to be Project Runway Season 12’s Fan Favorite by visiting!

Check out Ken’s blog “Behind the Seams” for a behind the scenes look of a designer’s life!

Also, like Ken Laurence on Facebook to keep up with everything Ken!

I am so excited to see what episode 6 has in store for us…putting fashion designers in the woods…? This should get interesting! Y’all come back next week for more VIP Project Runway chat! :)

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn