• Alexander Knox from Project Runway Season 13
  • Amanda Valentine from Project Runway Season 13
  • Angela Sum from Project Runway Season 13
  • Carrie Sleutskaya from Project Runway Season 13
  • Char Glover from Project Runway Season 13
  • Emily Payne from Project Runway Season 13
  • Emmanuel Tobias from Project Runway Season 13
  • fade zu grau from Project Runway Season 13
  • Hernan Lander from Project Runway Season 13
  • Jefferson Musanda from Project Runway Season 13
  • Kini Zamora from Project Runway Season 13
  • Korina Emmerich from Project Runway Season 13
  • Kristine Guico from Project Runway Season 13
  • Mitchell Perry from Project Runway Season 13
  • Nzinga Knight from Project Runway Season 13
  • Samantha Plasencia from Project Runway Season 13
  • Sandhya Garg from Project Runway Season 13
  • Sean Kelly from Project Runway Season 13
  • Tim Navarro from Project Runway Season 13

Angela Sum

32, Los Angeles, CA
out

Describe your family.

We were an Asian immigrant family, so there were definitely challenges. My mom has worked in garment manufacturing factories all her life. It's very hard manual labor. I got my work ethic from my mom. While my mom worked hard to make sure our necessities were met, finances at home were still tight, and I learned to support myself financially growing up. So I was very practical and independent in my teens.

Current occupation?

Computer Engineer/Programmer. Just recently left a job doing technical work for an investment bank.

Past jobs?

My first job was when I was 12, packaging sweaters for pennies at a factory. By the time I was 18, I worked 80 hours a week doing miscellaneous jobs to save up for my first year in college. I've done everything from odds and ends in garment factories to waitressing, sales, filing, etc.

Pets?

 I had a miniature dachshund growing up, but none at the moment. I jokingly tell my hubby we are going to have 30 puppies one day, like that episode of "Family Guy."

Nicknames?

Asum, a nickname from uni friends (or college friends -- we Canadians like to distinguish university and colleges). It was my school user ID. They thought it was funny because in Cantonese, it sounds like the term you call old aunties.

When did you realize you had designer potential?

I always knew I was visually creative since I was young. It was the one thing I did not struggle with. I won numerous art awards growing up (I recall one of my art teachers got mad at me when she found out I was going into computer engineering instead). I wanted to be a designer since grade school, but I didn't pursue it until I was 20. But even then, that was on my own. It was only when I showed my portfolio for a FIT entrance interview in 2008 and got great feedback and encouragement that I knew I really I had potential.

First garment you ever made?

Some cheap poly organza tube-top with a bow in the back.

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

I took miscellaneous courses at night when I could in Toronto during my computer internship semesters at Humber College and Ryerson University. But mainly I learned on my own through my own projects to start. When I moved to NYC, I started taking night classes at FIT. In 2009, I enrolled at FIT full time, for a one-year accelerated fashion design associates degree.

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

Outstanding Design in Draping Specialization in FIT 2009. I also won a finalist spot at the Charleston fashion week 2012 Emerging Designers Competition, where I got to present to fashion giants like Anne Slowey and Fern Mallis.

Strengths as a designer?

Creativity, editing.

QWeaknesses as a designer?

Perfectionism, over-thinking, confidence at times. My brain gets the best of me.

What are your influences?

Some years ago, I had a lot of anime influences. You can still see some of these angular design details in my work today. Now sometimes I'm influenced by very romantic things, from a certain image to music. I also love to give a bit of abstract art feel in my clothing.

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

I listen to some Asian music (K-pop, J-pop, Chinese, Taiwanese) as well as mainstream R&B and hip-hop.

Favorite material or fabric to work with?

At this very moment, washed cotton twill.

Item you're most proud of designing?

My finale dress at Charleston Fashion Week. Another designer sweetly told me it was the most beautiful thing she's ever seen in real life.

Favorite designer(s)?

Stella McCartney, Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen.

Sketch or drape?

Both. Recently, more sketching.

Patterns or solids?

Solids. It's hard to start out as an independent designer with patterns because you can't afford exclusivity, and making your own prints can be extremely costly.

Favorite colors?

At the moment, greyish dusty pink -- I used various tones of it throughout my wedding. Afterwards, one of my bridesmaids painted her bedroom like that and called it 'Angela pink.'

Biggest fear as a designer?

Having a naked model down the runway. Malfunction.

Fashion must?

Brown booties (no lace) with a bit of heel. This can easily match a lot of outfits.

Fashion faux pas that drives you crazy?

Nude stockings with sandals, but I'm sure it can look cool if done right in some editorial.

Ugliest item of clothing/accessory you've worn?

My Catholic high school uniform. It was a twice-hand-me-down.

Favorite style icon?

Rihanna, Keira Knightley.

What would you design for the First Lady?

A modern asymmetrical suit-dress in a light grey-ish/dusty pink color.

Celebrity you wish you could design for?

Rihanna: a cool shirt dress with an alternative twist. Keira Knightley: a fresh-looking leather jacket or trench she could wear with lots of everyday outfits.

Favorite supermodel muse?

Natalia Vodianova.

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

Angela Sum.

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

Hanging out with my hubby or catching some TV or a movie.

Places/cultures you wish you could design for?

Asia (Korea, Japan, Hong Kong).

Dream place to set up your business?

LA, NYC, or Toronto. It really depends on life.

Websites that feature your work?

fb.com/by.AngelaSum, angelasum.com, fashionarttoronto.ca, amandakphotoart.com, charlestonfashionweek.com, tofashionistas.com

How were you described as a kid?

When I was really young in Hong Kong, I was lazy, probably really dumb. We were ranked as kids in school and I think I was ranked like a hundred something. But I got a second chance and more supportive encouragement in Canada, so I started working harder. By high school, I was the top student winning tons of academic awards. I even got ranked first in engineering many semesters, beating out 100+ guys -- it was a surprise to me, I was really intimidated going in, it was one of the top most competitive programs in Canada. Anyway, I was very determined and hardworking. I guess I was a keener, a nerd. Now I'm just a fashion nerd.

How are you described by your family and friends?

Hardworking, determined.

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

I think I'm fairly considerate. I can be introverted at times, and perfer some alone space.

Favorite hangout?

Anywhere with hubby. We both work a lot so just any time together is great.

Hobbies?

TV.

Favorite movies and TV shows?

"Suits," "Family Guy," "Seinfeld," "How I Met Your Mother."

Favorite books/authors?

I'm not well read, I don't have the time between a computers career and a design career. I loved "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger, go figure.

Favorite websites?

Google. I like to Google a lot on random stuff. If it wasn't for this fashion passion, it would be the next computer thing I'd be interested in pursuing.

Your Twitter handle?

@byAngelaSum

Favorite Twitter accounts?

I haven't kept up.

iPhone/Android/Blackberry?

Android.

Fast food or gourmet?

Fast food. Can't afford gourmet.

Cooking or takeout?

Cooking, to budget.

Favorite foods?

Eggs!

Beer or wine?

Neither. Girly fruity cocktails are my favorite.

Guiltiest pleasure?

Various ice cream treats we keep in the freezer.

Biggest pet peeve?

Tailgaters. They make me nervous!

How did you end up auditioning for PR?

I always had an excuse with work, but now that I've resigned after relocating, hubby encouraged me to just go for it. I auditioned once right after finishing FIT. I was hoping for a reason not to go back to computers/finance, before my student visa was up. I did not know how to represent myself at all and brought a mess of things.

Favorite past PR designer?

Uli - I remember I loved her final collection. Mondo, he just seems like such a nice guy I'd get along great with, and I love his boldness.

Challenge you wish they'd bring back?

Puppy challenge, just cause I love dogs.

Challenge you hope they don't?

Screaming baby. Can't imagine taking care of crying babies while screaming.

Your take on team challenges:

I think I could love or hate depending the group dynamics. But it's always hard because designers are very independent. It's a good opportunity to collaborate though.

What do you look for in a model?

A good attitude, a clean look. I like a "cute" look (as opposed to someone more classy or sophisticated-looking).

Do you think you can win "Project Runway"?

To be honest, I'm not sure. I believe I have the skills and creativity but there's a lot of tough challenges and I could choke, or just have a bad day and get kicked off. I'm also someone that never likes to get too ahead of myself. So, all I can do is try my hardest and hope for the best.