Where Are Your Favorite "Project Runway" Stars Now?
For 15 seasons, "Project Runway" has showcased not just fashion, but the inspiring, irreverent and sometimes cray cray personalities who make the show a DVR fave. Two hundred and forty designers have battled strange materials, unforgiving time constraints and even each other to put their vision on the runway. But what happens after the credits roll? We tracked down your season favorites to find out how they’ve been making it work since their time on the show.
PR Season 1, PRAS Season 1
“There is no denying that 'Project Runway' has changed the face of the fashion world,” says Austin, now based in New York City and designing his own collection of evenings and bridal wear. Since appearing in the inaugural season—who could forget the corn husk dress?— Austin has applied his vision of “grand couture, iconic glamour and feminine refinement” to his work, including, he says, a solid gold ball gown that covered an entire opera stage. This season, Austin is taking on a new role: mentor for a couture design class at FIT, his alma mater. “It will almost be like being back on 'Project Runway,' except in the Tim Gunn role.”
PR Season 2, Under The Gunn Mentor
“Being on the show was like a trampoline for my career,” says Nick, “I am still designing, mentoring and doing much more.” Since "Project Runway," Nick has dressed celebs like Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Eva Longoria, and Heidi Klum in his couture line, NIKOLAKI. Meanwhile, mere mortals can scoop up separates from his less-expensive, RTW line, NV Nick Verreos. Nick can frequently be found on TV, lending his expertise as a judge and mentor on later seasons of PR, and as a fashion commentator for E! and the TV Guide Network. He also lends his sharp wit and expertise each season as an official "Runway" blogger on myLifetime.com, and is a spokesman for brands like Best Western Hotels & Resorts. Always an educator, Nick has also created a YouTube series, “Fashion School with Nick Verreos” and written a book, "A Passion for Fashion: Achieving Your Fashion Dreams One Thread at a Time."
PR Season 3, PRAS Season 2
“People still recognize me as the girl from Miami with [the] funny name and the beautiful printed resort wear dresses,” says Uli. And the free-spirited designer has embraced it, continuing to create colorful, flowing frocks and resort wear for special clients—when she’s not working as a wardrobe stylist for print and film. In fact, Uli often asks fellow "Project Runway" designer, like Jay McCarroll, to join her team. “I know they are used to work[ing] fast and under pressure,” she says. Up next for Uli is a resort wear line in April and continued planning for a RTW line inspired by her move to New York City.
PR Season 4
“'Project Runway' was an exciting time in my career to build myself up and enjoy a high level of success and achievement,” says Jillian. In the nine years since, Jillian launched an eponymous RTW line and dressed celebrities like Beyoncé and Khloe Kardashian. She also served as Design Director at Ralph Lauren. Over the past three years, Jillian has been traveling the world with her husband and daughter while creating special projects for Anthropologie. Up next? “I am now working on an eveningwear/bridal design project for a new company,” she revealed.
PR Season 5, PRAS Season 1
Fans loved to hate the brash designer with the pin-up style, but Kenley wants them to know “I’m a different person now—I’m very happy.” High demand for Kenley’s signature fascinators helped fuel the launch of her eponymous line of vintage-inspired separates. Soon after, Kenley teamed up with Ariana Grande to create a new look to go with the pop star’s new solo career. Kenley also grabbed the mic herself, first fronting the band Jetblack Bullseye before going solo as a singer/songwriter. Her first, full-length solo album was just released and the title, "Belle Black," has a particularly significant meaning: it’s the name of her one-year old daughter. Listen to Kenley’s new album on iTunes here.
PR Season 6, PRAS Season 1
“I love to make women look beautiful. Sex appeal is overrated,” says Gordana. And the Bosnian-born, L.A.-based designer brings her love of aesthetics to everything she does – whether it’s one of a kind wedding dresses, couture gowns for the Golden Globes, or a revolutionary strapless, backless bra. “There was no solution for women who are large chested and wearing a backless or a deep plunge dress. I found the solution,” she explains. And Gordana is excited to show it off at next season’s Fashion Week, along with a new collection of gowns.
PR Season 7, PRAS Season 1
“Having my own line was always a dream of mine. So realizing it, selling it to stores, and seeing my clothes on ‘real women’ was an amazing experience,” says Mila. After five years as a designer, though, she returned to her original passion: costume design. You can now find Mila’s work on shows like “Dancing With the Stars,” “Castle” and the upcoming Starz series “Counterpart,” plus films, including “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Fast & Furious 8.” Lucky fans may still be able to get a custom piece designed by Mila—if they can catch her outside the 70 hours per week she spends on set! (PS: She also blogs "Runway" recaps on myLifetime.com!)
PR Season 8, PRAS Season 3
“I don’t like the idea of fast fashion,” says Ari, “So I make it right from the get-go.” Based in Hawaii, Ari oversees every step in the production of her Ari South women’s line and Andy South men’s line, from design to printing her own fabrics to manufacturing at her own factory. Instead of seasonal collections, Ari focuses on updating her online stores with new, lifestyle-focused clothes throughout the year and showing in the smaller fashion hubs around the U.S., like Honolulu and San Jose. As for her former castmates, the designer says, “We pick each other up when we need to, we go to each other for advice and we share experiences. We’ve been the best network to support each other.”
Anthony Ryan Auld
PR Season 9, PRAS Season 2
“Since 'Project Runway,' I have really looked to simplify my life,” says Anthony Ryan. “It was only natural for me to make my way back to Texas.” San Antonio, specifically, where Anthony Ryan opened The ANTHILL in 2015. More than a boutique, The ANTHILL is an artistically designed space where shoppers can discover apparel and jewelry curated by Anthony Ryan himself—including clothing from his own ANTHONY RYAN label and pieces from other PR designers’ labels. “The fashion industry has evolved so much in the past five years, allowing opportunities to create your own path wherever you choose. So, in turn, my dream has evolved to encompass my new shop.”
PR Season 10, PRAS Season 4
“Designing clothing will always be my first passion,” says Sonjia. Since PR, the New York-based designer has translated that passion into her own label, Something By Sonjia. Many of the comfortably chic, RTW pieces are made locally and all are modeled by Sonjia herself. When Sonjia isn’t showing off her fresh designs on the "TODAY" Show or at Fashion Week events around the country, she’s traveling around the globe. “I would love to have my own travel show,” Sonjia shares. “I have been blessed enough to have explored some amazing countries, and I would love to share that with the rest of the world.”
PR Seasons 11 & 13
“The response over the past four years has been amazing,” shares Amanda. The Nashville-based designer has been busy, styling high-profile rock bands, like Twenty-One Pilots, for awards and events while also designing her own line of statement dresses and colorful knits. Amanda has consistently showed her eponymous collection at Fashion Weeks throughout the country, and this spring will be debuting a collection of red carpet-ready looks at a L.A. benefit, followed by shows in Nashville and Austin.
PR Season 12, PRAS Season 4
“This is my happy place,” says Helen. “I'm creating garments every day and I've never felt better.” Operating out of an atelier in Manhattan’s Garment District, Helen works six days a week developing custom red carpet, evening and bridal looks for her Helen Castillo brand. Each piece in her runway collection is designed, draped, cut, and sewn by herself or one of her assistants. Meanwhile, Helen’s webstore offers lower-priced, RTW pieces inspired by the silhouettes she created on "Project Runway." After many young fans contacted her for advice and guidance on fashion design, Helen started offering one-on-one courses out of her studio. The response was so positive that Helen is now working with a local high school to develop a fashion program that will reach even more students.
PR Season 13
“At this time in my career, I’m just putting my head down and working,” shares Char. Since the show, Char moved to L.A. and has been splitting her focus between creating custom pieces for private clients and designing her RTW brand, Rockn Remix. Char calls the new street-style-meets-high-end brand “unique” and “dope” and has already found a fan in Keri Hilson. For her first Fashion Week experience outside "Project Runway," Char is joining fellow show alum Michael Castello at El Paseo Fashion Week in Palm Springs where they will showcase their collection via runway and a trunk show.
PR Season 14
“I can't stress enough how much PR has changed my life,” says Kelly. Gone are days of long shifts at the deli. Now Kelly is focusing full time on fashion with her brand, Rack Addik. “I feel like everything I have always dreamed of is coming true.” From her famous fanny packs to wildly-printed separates, Kelly has put her unique touch on a collection of eclectic streetwear that fans are sure to love when unveiled during this week’s NYFW. “Knowing it started from just a seed of a thought in my brain,” muses Kelly, “it’s really exciting to see how far I can go.”
PR Season 15
“'Project Runway' was a confirmation that I am doing what I’m supposed to do,” says Laurence. The fact that Laurence’s website crashed after the PR season finale because she was receiving so many orders was also a good sign. Now the busy mom is looking to the future and expanding her Laurence Basse brand through custom designs for private clients, a line of Italian footwear and a solo show during next season’s Fashion Week. “It’s just nonstop since I came back,” says Laurence.