She added: “You can sell online without ever getting the approval of Vogue.”
Ms. Welteroth, who is credited with reinventing Teen Vogue as a more socially conscious, politically engaged publication, noted that designers have to be conscious of the world around them. “You have to be mindful of what is happening and really conscious in how you create and what stories you’re telling,” she said.
To that end, one of the challenges on the new “Project Runway” will ask each designer to think about and create designs for an issue they want to champion. The new show also strives to reflect a broader swath of experiences.
“I’m really proud we have women of all shapes and sizes and the first transgender model in ‘Project Runway’ history,” Ms. Kloss said. “Fashion should serve everyone.”
The new judges said they adjusted to their roles quickly, each finding a personal rhythm and style. “Brandon would have, like, really funny stuff,” Ms. Welteroth said of Mr. Maxwell’s design notes. “Like, ‘cowgirl goes to SoulCycle.’ Or he would just put a big ‘No.’ One time Nina left early, and we looked at her cards, and we were, like, ‘Wow.’ We saved them. They were so good.”
Ms. Kloss turned to Ms. Welteroth. “Your notes were, like, there was not an ounce of space left on the card,” she said. “I would just have three words.”
For all the changes, some things stay the same, even in the “one day you’re in, one day you’re out” world of fashion. “I felt like all I talked about was fabric,” Mr. Siriano said of his time as a mentor. “The importance of choosing the right fabric,” he said, “will exist till the end of time. Satin doesn’t change.”
And besides, he said, “If you can’t pick one fabric for one challenge, how are you making a collection four times a year for customers around the world?”