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Project Runway SA Premieres Today, But Will It Be Better Than Other Reality Show Spin-Offs?

The first season of Project Runway SA begins today and joins a long list of African spin-offs of American reality shows.

Watching African spin offs of American and European reality TV shows can be a fun guilty pleasure or an awkward and brutal experience.

The first season of Project Runway SA is premiering today on Mzansi Magic at 9:30pm. The show will be hosted by Lerato Kganyago and the contestants will be mentored by Gert-Johan Coetzee. While most of the response on social media has been positive, we will have to wait and see if the show will offer an interesting perspective on fashion in South Africa or if it will be a failed attempt to mimic the American original.

There's a long history of reality competition spin offs that have come before Project Runway on the continent including Idols, The Voice, Big Brother Africa, and Real Housewives. Many of these shows are a hit or miss, though many times the hit is from finding pleasure in the most awkward moments of the show.

Despite the success of these shows, they often struggle to accommodate Black African contestants and to restructure the original format to a new location. In 2013, the first season of Africa's Next Top Model premiered and launched the career of the winner Aamito Lagum. The show was filled with political uncomfortable scenes, from the models (particularly two white South African models) posing in high fashion clothes in a Cape Town township that led to the people living there protesting the shoot in the episode, to the language difficulties faced by the contestants from Angola and Mozambique that were never quite resolved.


Despite the shady history of reality tv spinoffs in Africa, there is a lot of excitement on Twitter for Project Runway SA. Fans of Project Runway are excited to see how the show will play out in South Africa. The competition is for aspiring designers who have to create runway ready garments with restricted time and materials for each challenge. If the show follows the formula of the original, the challenges will include ready to wear, unconventional materials, avant-garde, red carpet, and group challenges. It's not evident yet what unique challenges the South African show will offer.



South Africa's fashion industry has produced many talented designers, and it's hard say whether this show will necessarily create the next top designer. The winning designer will show their collection at Paris fashion week 2019.

Watch the trailer here.





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