Did Their Passion for Fashion Lead To Success?
A few days ago, we went over our pick of the Top 10 Project Runway Winners: Where Are They Now? over on MsMojo, but let’s be honest, with 17 seasons under this show’s designer belt, 10 simply isn’t enough. So for this list, we’ll be looking at 5 MORE past “Project Runway” winners and seeing what they’ve been up to as of 2018. Considering the ultimate prize includes $100,000 to start their own design line, a feature spread in Marie Claire magazine and the optional opportunity to sell their collection on bluefly.com, these winners were definitely given a solid support to get their feet moving. But how did that work out for them?
Not only was he the show’s first winner in 2005, but he did so without having won a single challenge up until the final runway show! His reward? $100,000 and a mentorship from Banana Republic, both of which he turned down on account of the show’s contractual clause that would limit his professional independence. Luckily this clause has since been eliminated and Jay was able to maintain some post-win spotlight through appearing in “Project Jay”, “Eleven Minutes” and VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club”. He also teaches fashion at Philadelphia University and launched a blog and designer boutique, “The Colony”, though the site hasn’t been updated since 2014.
Since winning both season 10 of “Project Runway” and season 4 of “Project Runway: All Stars” through his dynamic designs including the use of cut-outs and unconventional pattern/style mixing, Dmitry has been a fan favourite. He went on to work as an instructor at the Parsons School of Design, where he previously received his BFA in Fashion Design, and he has his own label, “Dmitry Sholokhov”. If you’re interested in checking out his recent pieces, he’s quite active on Twitter!
We’re moving from a fan favourite, to a season’s portrayed villain. Jeffrey Sebelia is remembered for his explicit language and his poor treatment of his fellow contestant Angela Keslar’s mother during a challenge in which she was the client. Nonetheless, he won season 3 and used his $100,000 prize to pay off debts from his brand “Cosa Nostra” which ultimately failed. He has since mentioned designing costumes for a live-action Bratz movie, worked on a brand of edgy children’s clothing called “La Miniatura” and an “L.A. Based fashion label” called “SCL_MDIA” with artist Kirk Nelson.
Continuing in the realm of “Project Runway” villains, Gretchen Jones was probably the most controversial winner to-date and her season 8 success was met with great criticism. Not only had she been accused of bullying teammates throughout the show, but the finale lead to a heated and memorable debate between the judges. Michael Kors and Nina Garcia favored Gretchen’s collection, while Heidi Klum and Jessica Simpson favored her competitor, and fan favorite, Mondo’s collection. Since her win she graduated with an MBA from the University of London College of Fashion, has spoken at SXSW and Ivy League universities and has been featured in high-profile fashion magazines like Refinery29 and Elle.
This Trinidadian pageant queen, turned fashion designer took the home the season 9 win in 2011 and has been thriving ever since. She has launched both a boutique, “Exhibit A”, and a lingerie line, “Anya de Rouge”. She also got the chance to work with Tim Gunn on the reality show “Under the Gunn” in 2014 where she mentored other rising fashion designers. Her success has always been routed in love towards her hometown in Trinidad and Tobago, so she also founded an online store “cANYAval”, that supports Caribbean designers and focuses on clothing inspired by Trinidad’s bright and elaborate carnival. Check out her gorgeous Anya Ayoung-Chee Limited Edition pieces below!
Which “Project Runway” winner was your favourite? Make sure to check out the full video with our Top 10 picks below and let us know in the comments!