They came up with plans to prevent suicide and tackle climate change. Then on Day 4 of the reality TV challenge came a final twist: the team had to live with the results of that plan in the future. In this final section of the game, players are presented with a situation where failure to act could lead to catastrophe. In the current global climate, what would you do?
It was a strange week in the world that had changed everything. An American team was competing in the final round of the reality TV game called Project Runway, while more than a quarter of the Earth’s population saw their most dangerous heatwave on record. The next morning, a group of leaders gathered in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss how to deal with a future of climate change and social unrest, while in Rome, the Pope called for an open-ended global campaign of economic and technological innovation. The winners met in Manhattan’s fashion district, where they revealed what it took to be on top of the world.
One of the challenges on Project Runway was to design a garment for a future that doesn’t yet exist. In the current climate, the US reality TV team had to design a suit that could protect its participants from heatstroke through the practice of what it called “cooling.”
The designers faced two problems — the first was how to keep people on a plane, and the second, how to keep people cool at the same time. The team looked to nature as inspiration, but the solution it came up with was decidedly less elegant than a coat of paint.
The clothing was made of water-resistant, lightweight polyester, but it was not exactly comfortable to wear. The suit could take the most severe elements of the weather, but it just wasn’t very good at hiding heat. The designers found that the problem was related to the fabric. Its insulating properties were reduced if it dried out. So the heat stayed trapped in a closed environment.
This problem led the designers to look to animals — the birds and fish that live in the sea and air. They came up with the idea of a suit with a lining of a material that would both absorb the heat and keep the clothes dry,