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An “Unconventional” Partnership: Southwest Airlines and Project Runway All Stars


Sharing our Heart is a big part of Southwest Airlines and for years, we’ve been dedicated to living responsibly and respecting our resources. As you might have seen on Lifetime last night, we had the unique opportunity to celebrate this dedication by being featured in the fan-favorite, Unconventional Materials episode of Project Runway All Stars!


Designers from the show were challenged to create high-fashion air travel wear from recycled onboard and travel items including Southwest coffee cups, peanut packets, and seat belts. The designers were also tasked with crafting a leather accessory out of upcycled Southwest aircraft seat covers—all within 24 hours!


Sep 26 2018_ReThreaded_450_Print_compressed.jpgThe purpose of this challenge was to show how everyday travel items can be transformed into something else, which aligns perfectly with our Repurpose with Purpose (RwP) initiative. The spirit of this initiative is to breathe new life into material that otherwise may have been discarded, which is exactly what these creative designers accomplished.


All of the designs were impressive, but (spoiler alert!) ultimately Irina Shabayeva won the challenge! Irinia’s design incorporated Southwest coffee cups into a miniskirt set and she used aircraft seat leather to create a clutch.


In addition to bragging rights as the challenge winner, Irina had the chance to work with Rethreaded, a RwP Partner since 2017, to design a line of limited edition accessories inspired by creations from the Unconventional Materials episode. Rethreaded creates and sells a line of upcycled leather jewelry and accessories that gives Southwest’s leather new life, while also creating opportunities for women who are survivors of human trafficking, exploitation, and trauma.



Employees of Rethreaded took inspiration from Irina’s winning design, plus other designers’ creations, to produce a line of new accessories including key chains, earrings, and bracelets. Purchasing these limited edition accessories brings renewal and hope to the women at Rethreaded.


Southwest is also offering the chance to win round trip air travel* for one winner and a guest to any Southwest destination, along with Project Runway All Stars-inspired travel accessories created by Rethreaded. These upcycled accessories are made with recycled leather from Southwest aircraft seat covers.


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*International air travel does not include taxes and fees of at least $5.60 per one-way flight.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of 50 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia (excluding Alaska) age 19 or older at time of entry. Limit one entry per person. All fields must be completed. Approximate retail value of prize: $1,040. For complete details and Official Rules, visit By submitting this entry, you agree to the Official Rules. By entering, information collected will be used in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy at Sponsor: Southwest Airlines Co., 2702 Love Field Drive, Dallas, Texas 75235. Enter by March 31, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET.


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If you didn’t have a chance to watch the episode featuring Southwest, be sure to tune in next time you’re onboard a Southwest flight. Customers traveling on Southwest can enjoy the Project Runway All Stars TV Series Channel on the Inflight Entertainment Portal via the Southwest mobile app on their personal devices, or a laptop via

1 Comment
Top Contributor

I don't watch the show regularly but did happen to see this episode as my wife is a fan. It was fun seeing the challenge of using the Southwest items in their designs.