Bradon McDonald

Age 38, Los Angeles, CA - Out Episode 14

Describe your family?

Large Irish-American family, I’m the youngest of 6.

Current occupation?

Assistant designer.

Past jobs?

Patternmaker, modern dancer (14 years of touring).

Pets?

Eddie, pound mutt.

When did you realize you had designer potential?

|I arrived at fashion design from both the performing and fine-art perspectives.  I started collecting fabrics from around the world while I was on tour as a dancer. My partner, Josh, bought me a sewing machine, and after teaching myself how to sew, I began making rugs, quilts, book covers and pillows; basically anything to show off the fabrics. Being a dancer in NYC, everyone I saw all day carried a bag, or two, or three. I began a business making bags that grew over 10 years.  I would tour with the dance company with my sewing machine in tow and set up each hotel room as my atelier. I then began making costumes for a burlesque show in NYC; some garments were very, very small (as one attending a burlesque show hopes) and some costumes were so large that they doubled as set pieces before I (or I mean someone) wore them. From there, upon retiring from the stage, with just 12 hours between my last show and beginning my design training at FIDM in LA, it was all "Runway"-bound.

First garment you ever made? 

Burlesque garment, the picture might not pass censor regulations! But I will tell you there were remote control LED lights in a very strategic place so that when the performer touched her toes %#$@*#$

What's your design training/schooling, etc.?

FIDM

Have you won any awards for your designs/work related to design?

TALA (Textile Association of Los Angeles) best use of textiles, 2012; FIDM Fashion Design Award 2012; FIDM Guess Inc. Scholarship 2012; HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) best of show 2011; Cotton Incorporated, Embellishment competition Finalist 2011

Strengths as a designer?

Fabric manipulation, embellishment, uncommon hand-sewing techniques.

Weaknesses as a designer?

Speed, eek!

What are your influences?

Always fine art and artists' concepts, and the fabric itself. Now my customer is a large influence on my designs.

What's playing on your iPod when you're designing? 

I don’t have one, but if I did, The Carter Family (founders of country music), baroque composer Purcell, and Animal Collective.

Favorite material or fabric to work with?

Silk of any kind.

Item you're most proud of designing? 

A wedding dress that was the finale for my runway show in March 2013.

Favorite designer(s)?

Charles James, Madame Gres, Valentino, Mugler.

Sketch or drape?

A bit of sketching, then give me some fabric!

Patterns or solids?

Yes and Yes.

Favorite colors?

Turquoise.

Biggest fear as a designer?

The garment doesn’t sell.

Fashion must?

Paul Smith shoes.

Fashion faux pas that drives you crazy?

Men buttoning the bottom button of their suit jackets.

Ugliest item of clothing/accessory you've worn?

Birkenstocks.

Favorite style icon?

Lulu Guinness.

What would you design for the First Lady?

Pearl-embellished maxi skirt with racerback top.

Celebrity you wish you could design for?

Anything Milla Jovovitch wants!

If you had to name your label, you'd call it...?

bradonPAUL

If you weren't designing, you'd be...?

Directing opera.

Places/cultures you wish you could design for?

Love to for Londoners; they take more risks, and actually want to have a unique look.

Dream place to set up your business?

Milan.

Websites that feature your work?

FIDM.edu

How were you described as a kid?

Busy and ready for attention.

How are you described by your family and friends?

Much the same lol.

Why do you think you're easy to live with?

I’m kind and love to cook giant feasts; cleaning up is not my favorite, though.

Favorite hangout?

Church and State, downtown LA.

Hobbies?

Design used to be my hobby. Now I don’t have time for any hobbies.

Favorite movies and TV shows?

"Lord of the Rings," "Downton Abbey"

Favorite books/authors?

"The Grapes of Wrath."

Favorite websites?

Valentino virtual museum.

iPhone/Android/Blackberry?

iPhone.

Fast food or gourmet?

Gourmet.

Cooking or takeout?

Both.

Favorite foods?

Steaks on the grill.

Beer or wine?

Good red wine.

Guiltiest pleasure?

I just have pleasures, they don’t make me feel guilty.

Biggest pet peeve?

Changing travel plans at the last minute.

How did you end up auditioning for PR?

I have not auditioned before. I just saw followed the submission instructions on "Project Runway" website, and then got to meet Tim Gunn at the casting call (he IS so real!). I was happy with that much, and then I got “the call.” Now the excitement has dissipated and I am left with paralyzing anxiety.

Favorite past PR designer?

Patricia Michaels.

Challenge you wish they'd bring back?

Thunder from Down Under, just so I could see Nina’s laugh jag in person!! I still laugh when I think of her hiding under her note cards!!

Challenge you hope they don't?

Thunder from Down Under, it was the worst!! 

Your take on team challenges:?

I think they are a great idea, and working as a team is what the fashion industry is all about. 

What do you look for in a model?

Proportions first, then the walk.

Do you think you can win "Project Runway"?

There is a very slight chance that I could win, as long as the other 15 designers are blind and/or quit the show before the finale.