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S1 - E8

Postal Uniform Challenge

Instead of another assignment, Heidi gives our five finalists personalized brown paper packages tied up with string -- containing not a few of their favorite things, but the key to their next challenge. The catch: they can't open them until the next morning. But first, model selection time.   The bond between designers and models have grown tight, as Kara once again selects Jenny, Jay returns to Julia, and Robert sticks with Olga. Wendy nabs Austin's favorite, Melissa, leaving Austin to choose between Martinique (his Envy model) and Erin (his 2055 Collection model). Envy wins out, and Erin is dismissed. Before sunrise, the designers rise to discover that their packages contain U.S. Postal Service uniforms for them to wear, from Wendy's skirt to Austin's furry hat. At the Hoboken, N.J. branch, Tim articulates what everyone has suspected: their challenge will be to redesign the letter carrier's uniform.   With only five designers left, the winner of this challenge will not have immunity in the next as that would automatically put him or her in the final three. Letter carrier Becky lays out the key criteria: comfort, ease of movement, and a professional appearance. To give them a real sense of what it takes to deliver the mail, our final five spend the morning at work, walking in the mailman's shoes. Kara, Robert and Jay take one route, while former friends Wendy and Austin team up on another. On their appointed rounds, they experience the woes of polyester pants and broken-down carts. The Wendy-less trio use their time away from her to compare notes about her past Runway behavior.   Armed with their new first-hand experience and $100, the designers hit the fabric store, surveying everything blue and breathable in sight. Rob, having spent the day in long pants, is seized with a vision of trousers that can turn into shorts. Jay looks to make a bold statement with an oversized USPS logo on the back of his light blue sweater. Wendy puts her efforts into a conservative approach, tailoring more than re-imagining the current uniform. Kara concentrates on function with pockets galore, while Austin, as is his wont, takes a decidedly feminine approach. Fate delivers an unexpected set to Jay's cause when he learns first that Julia will arrive very late, and then that she's not expected at all. Will he be able to find a slender, 6' tall replacement in time for the runway?

Aired: 02/22/2005