"I feel as though we set the bar higher every season," said Klum. "We've got some truly talented, innovative and deeply creative designers this year, and I think it's fair to say, the most diverse – everyone from a rocker chick who mostly works with leather to a more bohemian, surfer boy –and everything in between."
"Season after season the designers have amazed us," said Tim Gunn, mentor to the designers. "They have different DNA, different chemistry within each other and different views – their creative aptitude is right on par – but how to characterize them? That's up to the audience!"
The 16 "Project Runway" contestants will be whittled down to the finalists who will show their own line in front of an audience of fashion industry movers and shakers at New York Fashion Week. As part of the winner's prize package, an editorial feature on the winning designer will run in an issue of ELLE Magazine, the winner will walk away with a cash prize of $100,000 in seed money from TRESemmé professional hair care to start their own line and will have the opportunity to sell a fashion line on Bluefly.com. Saturn will award the winning designer a brand new 2009 Saturn VUE Hybrid.
Following are the 16 new "Project Runway" designers (bios and episodic descriptions enclosed):
– Blayne, 23 – Hometown: Yakima, Wash.; Resides in Seattle, Wash.
– Daniel, 25 – Hometown: Great Barrington, Mass.; Resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.
– Emily, 27 – Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.; Resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
– Jennifer, 27 – Hometown: East Syracuse, N.Y.; Resides in Pistoia, Italy
– Jerell, 28 – Hometown: Houston, Texas; Resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
– Jerry, 32 – Hometown: Butte, Mont.; Resides in New York City
– Joe, 41 – Hometown/Resides in: Troy, Mich.
– Keith, 26 – Hometown/Resides in: Salt Lake City, Utah
– Kelli, 27 – Hometown/Resides in: Columbus, Ohio
– Kenley, 25 – Hometown: Pompano Beach, Fla.; Resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.
– Korto, 33 – Hometown: Liberia; Resides in Mabelvale, Ark.
– Leanne, 27 – Hometown: Yuta, Calif.; Resides in Portland, Ore.
– Stella, 42 – Hometown: Astoria, N.Y.; Resides in New York City
– Suede, 37 – Hometown: Seven Hills, Ohio; Resides in Barryville, N.Y.
– Terri, 39 – Hometown: Chicago, Ill.; Resides in Columbus, Ohio
– Wesley, 23 – Hometown: Blackstone, Mass.; Resides in New York City
"Project Runway" fans can log onto www.BravoTV.com to watch bonus clips from the show and to visit a "Best of Runway" page with highlights from the past four seasons leading up to the fifth season of fabulous. Also on BravoTV.com, users will have the chance to compete in online challenges by sending in photos of their take on each week's challenges. Users will once again be able to "Rate the Runway" and vote on which designs they think should have been "in" or "out" after every episode. On their mobile phones, viewers can join the Project Runway Mobile Fan Club and get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the designers, fashion tips and more. Text RUNWAY to 27286 to join. They can also access the "Project Runway" wireless website at wap.bravotv.com (or text PR to 27286), for designer blogs, photo diaries and episode recaps.