Project Runway Season 1 was the first season of Project Runway, Bravo’s reality competition show for fashion designers. The season received critical acclaim including an Emmy nomination for outstanding competitive reality series. Growth in audience popularity was also dramatic from its debut to the season finale, making it a sleeper hit. Project Runway gave Bravo one of its most successful series since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
The winning designer of the first season was Pennsylvania-based designer Jay McCarroll. As his prize for winning the competition among 12 designers, McCarroll won $100,000, a mentorship with Banana Republic to aid in developing his own fashion label, and a feature of his work in the American edition of ELLE magazine. The winning model of the first season, selected by McCarroll, was Julia Beynon. McCaroll later turned down both the $100,000 and the mentorship with Banana Republic, stating that the prizes came with too much contractual baggage.