As a long time Project Runway fan, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to watch their latest programming spawn, On the Road with Austin and Santino. The show takes former Project Runway contestants and designers, Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice, and sends them on a road trip to bring high fashion clothing to various places across the country. From Weatherford, Texas where they dressed a high-school aged rodeo riding cowgirl to a US Army Captain in Shreveport, Louisiana and most recently, a hunting-aficionado mom in Antlers, Oklahoma, Scarlett and Rice make beautiful, one of a kind clothes to women who might not otherwise have them.
Reminiscent of their project runway days, the duo only have two days to create the outfit, including fittings, purchasing supplies, and having a head-to-toe look completed. Adding to the complication is the use of only a designated design location (historic buildings, local quilt shops, etc.) and the fact that they use only the materials in town. This doesn’t seem like much of a restriction, but in towns so small that one general store supplies half of a town’s needs, camouflage, gingham and other such materials are the only things on hand. Despite working in creative, remote, and sometimes creepy locations (taxidermic raccoon faces, anyone?), Scarlett and Rice manage to make fashion beauty. They make these beautiful, unique, fashionable designs, yet they are tailored to these women’s’ styles and influences. More than that, it brings a warmth and spirit of generosity to fashion that is missing in so many other facets of the industry. For all the media coverage of a cold and snobbish Anna Wintour, and waif-thin models, this is a refreshing view at two designers who want to make fashion for beauty’s sake, regardless of these women’s measurements or circumstances. The designers don’t judge don’t discriminate, and it makes for a show that’s heart-felt and often times hilarious.
On the Road with Austin and Santino airs Thursday nights on Lifetime, immediately following Project Runway, at 10:30pm EDT.