I’m always fascinated with the role technology plays in just about all aspects of our lives. Such is the case where fashion meets technology on Lifetime Television’s Emmy® Award nominated design sensation “Project Runway.” This is the third year that Intel and HP have teamed to bring technology onto the show and into the design room. The use of technology has evolved substantially over the last few years to the point where the audience not only expects it, but demands it – the annual HP Intel challenge in which designers use technology to create their textiles is one of the most anticipated and popular episodes each season.
This year’s challenge aired on September 8th and didn’t disappoint. Host Heidi Klum set the stage for drama (it is reality TV) when she introduced a twist to this year’s challenge: designers would work not as individuals but as two teams of five designers. Cue moaning and groaning by the designers at having to work with each other! Then in a scene uncomfortably reminiscent of a schoolyard pick-up game, Heidi asked Anthony and Josh to choose their sides. One by one, designers were chosen to join a team. The viewer was left wondering…who do the designers feel have the strongest skills? What cliques have developed? and of course, which designer will be picked last? (Predictably it is Burt –do you think he used a swear word?).
But I digress, the challenge demonstrated the use of technology in a big way. Tim Gunn introduced the challenge. He instructed the teams not only to create their own design textiles from scratch, but also to produce a full – fledged multimedia fashion show in which their collections would be showcased. The intensity was dialed up because the designers had to complete all of this in just two days! (I was on set back in July. The challenges, time constraints, stress and anxiety are real as each episode of the show is filmed on an aggressive daily schedule). Tim told the designers that HP and Intel have provided the technology to “realize your vision.”
After selecting their themes and sketching their designs, each team decided to divide and conquer and captured inspirational video in the streets of the city. Upon returning to the design room, the teams used HP Touchsmart PCs with the responsive 2nd gen Intel Core processor to upload, edit and produce their multimedia backdrops. On the runway, each team’s expression and creativity came to life in front of the judges in the form of bold prints, pattern and design—-against a very stimulating and complimentary backdrop. So, what did the judges have to say? Which designer won and which designer went home? I won’t spoil it here, but if you don’t know and want to find out, check out Episode 7, Can’t We Just All get Along?