Interested designers had to submit portfolios, bios and DVD's, which then would be "weeded out" by the casting producers. A select few from these were then given the notice to show up at The James [Hotel] for this next round of the selection process.
…We saw about 50 designers, from Missouri, Kansas and Chicago of course, among others. And gave each of them 5 minutes to "sell it" to us, for why they should be on the show. It was a great, and refreshing way to do the casting process. There were no crazy lines of 200 people; no disappointed designers who waited 12 hours+ to only get rejected before they even got a chance to put their designs on the rack. And for us, we enjoyed giving each hopeful designer their due time — and we even ended early and with a smile on our faces — as opposed to "tired and through" with the whole casting process.
There were some standouts that we said "yes" to and I venture to predict that there might be one or two designers that we may see on the next season of Project Runway from this Chicago casting!
And to that we say: Change blows. Why make the casting process so cushy? All the fun of the old casting process was knowing that people were so desperate to get their designs discovered they'd drive for hours to wait for hours in line with hundreds of people, lugging their garment bags all the way. Now it's just like, Who can make a fun DVD of themselves? Let's not forget some of the world's best designers are technologically inept, after all.