The 37Signals guys rave about the fashion design reality show Project Runway, and I think they might be tapping into part of why I like the show: the creative, make it work philosophy.
I watched five minutes of America’s Next Top Model last night and I found myself fighting a desperate urge to strangle Oprah-wannabe Tyra Banks. It doesn’t take much to run a phrase like “you’re still in the running to become America’s next top model” into the ground, but she does it, and then dances on the poor phrase and mashes her stiletto heal into it. But beyond Tyra, the show has little focus on the actual creativity. During the judging we’re only given brief glimpses of the photos, the actual result of the whole show. Instead we have to watch the model squirm in front of the judges while they point out the most inane of flaws (you’re not showing any neck, you look too manly, your nose looks too big from this angle). The show has minimal connection to reality–I find myself scratching my head at every picture. The show’s only saving grace is the potential for a cat fight. (which is really the reality genre’s biggest strength)
Project Runway, on the other hand, has a little more meat. The clothing is the point of the show and we get a good look at it. Plus it’s a lot easier to have an opinion on a dress and see what works and what doesn’t, as opposed to some goofy high concept fashion shoot. It also helps that Project Runway requires some creative and practical skill, not just being skinny and flirting with the camera. Now I’m not saying modeling is easy, but I just can’t muster any sympathy for the stick figure girls who rely more on their bodies than their brains. Give me some creative types working against the clock anyday.