We’re more than a month into Season 16 of Project Runway and we’re still obsessed with Claire and Shawn Buitendorp, the talented twins who are competing against each other on the hit Lifetime show. While we know the girls have major fashion skills, fans can’t help but wonder more about the reality TV twosome. Well, allow your curiosity to subside because Life & Style has rounded up everything you need to know about Claire and Shawn.
They’ve been on reality TV before.
If you recognize Claire and Shawn, it’s most likely because you saw the now-27-year-old sisters competing on VH1’s 2015 reality series Twinning. The premise of the show revolved around sets of twins being separated and individually tested on their knowledge of one another. The identical Buitendorps came out victorious in the end, taking home $222,222.22 to invest in their clothing business.
They work together IRL.
Though they’re competing separately on Project Runway, Claire and Shawn co-founded fashion label Shock and Awww years before their television debut. “Although we have totally different personal styles, hence the name Shock and Awww, we share a mutual love of fashion,” they explain on their company’s official website. “After obtaining our Associate’s Degrees in Fashion Technology, we headed to New York City to intern with one of our favorite designers, Betsey Johnson. Along the way, we discovered our passion for creating custom stage-wear outfits.”
They’ve designed costumes for Katy Perry.
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Claire and Shawn’s talent caught Katy’s eye in 2011, not long before the pop superstar embarked on her massively successful California Dreams Tour. The California Gurl herself commissioned the Michigan-born siblings to create custom pieces for her concerts, including a sparkly red, heart-shaped mini dress, and a whimsical, hot fudge sundae-inspired ensemble. “We thought we must be doing something right,” Claire previously told Teen Vogue of the moment Katy chose to wear their designs, while Shawn echoed, “It was incredible. But we also thought, ‘Why stop here?’”
They’re small-town girls at heart.
They’ve definitely made a name for themselves in the fashion world, but Claire and Shawn will always remember where they came from: Grande Ledge, MI, a town of roughly 8,000 people. “There’s nothing really to do, so we stayed at home and worked on projects,” Shawn has said. “We stuck out like sore thumbs at school and were picked on for it, but it was true to us. Style itself has become so serious.”
Tim Gunn gave them advice years before their Project Runway stint.
Before he became a mentor to Claire and Shawn, the girls met the style guru at a mall meet-and-greet seven years ago. “We asked him, we’re like, ‘Tim, we only have associates degrees from a very small community college. Can we ever make anything of ourselves?'” Shawn told the Lansing State Journal back in August. “He said, ‘Girls, you can do anything if you have quality work, if you have a wonderful work ethic, if you can prove to people you have a drive and a passion, you can do anything. It doesn’t matter where you went to school.’”
We’re sure glad they listened! Catch Claire and Shawn on Project Runway Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST.
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