"Project Runway All Stars" are outfitting some of their most deserving models yet.
During an episode airing Jan. 3., the final four designers will be paired with female veterans from different military branches and are tasked with creating outfits tailored to special events each woman will be attending, according to bluestarfam.org. Katie Holmes will be a guest judge on the special episode.
“These women have dedicated their lives. This is the least I can do,” Emilio Sosa says in an episode preview.
As thousands of female vets return home, many struggle with the adjustment.
"We’ve got women on our staff who say that a lot of times, when they walk into the VA, they get treated like a candy striper instead of like a returning warrior. As a country, we've got to go through a huge cultural shift," Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive officer and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told NBC.
Finding employment is another challenge for female vets. In November the unemployment rate for female vets was 9.3 percent, three points higher than their male counterparts, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And with females accounting for 15 percent of returning troops and 15 percent of the U.S. armed forces population -- there are more women warriors than ever before, NBC News reports.
For "Project Runway All Star" designer Joshua McKinley, the experience is especially poignant. He comes from a military family himself -- his brother is currently serving in Iraq, according to his Project Runway online bio. The preview footage shows the 25-year-old designer tearing up after he hears the story about the female vet he’s matched with.
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