• Amanda Perna from Project Runway Season 9
  • Anthony Ryan Auld from Project Runway Season 9
  • Anya Ayoung-Chee from Project Runway Season 9
  • Becky Ross from Project Runway Season 9
  • Bert Keeter from Project Runway Season 9
  • Bryce Black from Project Runway Season 9
  • Cecilia Motwani from Project Runway Season 9
  • Danielle Everine from Project Runway Season 9
  • David Chum from Project Runway Season 9
  • Fallene Wells from Project Runway Season 9
  • Gunnar Deatherage from Project Runway Season 9
  • Joshua Christensen from Project Runway Season 9
  • Joshua McKinley from Project Runway Season 9
  • Julie Tierney from Project Runway Season 9
  • Kimberly Goldson from Project Runway Season 9
  • Laura Kathleen from Project Runway Season 9
  • Olivier Green from Project Runway Season 9
  • Rafael Cox from Project Runway Season 9
  • Serena da Conceicao from Project Runway Season 9
  • Viktor Luna from Project Runway Season 9

David Chum

29, Boston, MA

What was the first garment you ever made?

It was probably a ballgown for a show called "Cinderella Waltz."

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

It depends. I tend to like upbeat music: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Adele, Britney Spears . Other times I like it mellow and listen to Cat Power or Belle and Sebastian.

When did you realize you had designer potential?

In high school, when I was designing costumes for the theater company. It came naturally to me and was something I enjoyed doing.

Favorite designer(s)?

Alber Elbaz, Alexander McQueen, Madame Gres, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Christian Dior.

Current occupation?

I've run my own clothing label, Selahdor, for about three years. I wait tables the rest of the time to supplement my income.

Can you describe past jobs you've had?

Waiter, artist's model.

What is a fashion must?

A good pair of jeans.

What is your design training?

The only sewing class I took was in middle school. I learned to sew a pillow. All my knowledge is from text books and experimentation.

Have you won any awards related to design?

I won several awards for my costume design at the annual Massachusetts High School Drama Competitions. Recently I was awarded a grant from the Emerging Designer Fund in Boston.

What are your strengths as a designer?

My Fine Art training has given me a good sense of proportion and shape. I am best at structured, tailored looks. Pattern drafting is my number one strength.

What are your weaknesses as a designer?

Getting too wrapped up in meticulous details. Being self-taught is a weakness. Every day in my studio is an experiment of sorts.

What's influenced your designs over the years?

In the past, old movies, nature, armor, flowers, insects, mythology, etc. Recently, butterfly chrysalises. This has translated to anatomical seaming in my work.

What's your favorite material or fabric to work with?

Wools, silk-wool blends, and silk gazar.

What's the item you're most proud of designing?

Some suiting I made for W2011: a gray silk/wool jacket with anatomical seams, structured collar and pleating. It's paired with a box-pleated miniskirt.

Do you prefer sketching or draping?

80 percent sketch, 20 percent drape.

Do you prefer patterns or solids?


What are your favorite colors?

Black, red, gray, white.

What's your biggest fear as a designer?

Not finishing things in time, and generally failure.

What fashion faux pas drives you crazy?

UGGS!!!! And those velour sweatsuits that say stuff across the butt. Even worse is when those things happen together and the woman decides to carry an expensive handbag with the look.

What's the ugliest thing you've ever worn?

My entire teenage years are riddled with bad fashion choices. The worst is probably all the wide-legged JNCO Jeans I used to wear.

Who are your favorite style icons?

Daphne Guinness.

If you designed for the first lady, what would you design for her?

Interesting suits, pant and skirt and jacket combos, that were classic but distinct. Lots of seaming and pleating and slight volumes. I'd keep it classy, though. She IS the first lady.

What celebrity would you like to design for?

Daphne Guinness. I'd design a crazy organza gown with detailed stitching and sculptural peplums, and a cropped tuxedo jacket to pair it with.

Who's your supermodel muse?

I think Chanel Iman is quite lovely out of this new crop of models.

What do you look for in a model?

At least 5'9 , thin but not sickly, some curves are OK, pretty and distinctive face, well-balanced and proportioned figure.

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

I'd like to have three different labels: Selahdor by David Chum, then something else by David Chum, and finally THE David Chum line, which would probably be the really nice high-end stuff.

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

At the beach, tanning, swimming, and sipping a cocktail.

Dream place to set up your design business?

Either NYC or Paris.

Websites that feature your work, including your own site(s)?

selahdor.com, notjustlabel.com, emergingdesignerfund.com, smashingdarling.com

Any other cultures or places you wish you could design for?


How were you described as a kid?

Smart, quiet, talented, a little hotheaded at times.

How are you described now?

Smart, extroverted, vigilant, driven, honest to a fault, fun, easy to get along with, talented, faithful, insightful.

Can you describe your family?

My parents are Cambodian refugees, and I grew up in a very traditional Cambodian household. There was a bit of a struggle between the American culture and ideals we grew up with and those of my parents.

Marriage or kids?

Partnered 10 years, no kids.

Do you have any pets?

Turtle: Tetris. Cat: Pearl.

Do you have any nicknames?

Chum, D. Chum, David Chum (people have taken to calling me by my full name recently).

Why are you (or aren't you) easy to live with?

I know how to get along with people and to maintain a balance to keep the peace among the group. If there is something wrong, I have no problems communicating that.

What's your favorite hangout back home?

I don not really have one. If I am "hanging out", I am usually at home.

What are your hobbies besides designing?

Dancing, drawing, painting, reading, movies, music.

What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

Movies: anything directed by Pedro Almodovar, 8 Women, Inland Empire, Funny Face, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. TV: Project Runway (obvi), True Blood, Weeds, Glee.

What are your favorite books and authors?

Haruki Murakami.

What are your favorite websites?

Facebook? I don't really surf the Web for entertainment.

Your Twitter handle?


Favorite Twitter accounts?


iPhone, Android or BlackBerry?


Fast food or gourmet?


Cooking or takeout?

Cooking. I am a VERY, VERY good cook.

Favorite food?

Sushi, anything Asian or Asian-inspired, french fries.

Beer or wine?


Guiltiest pleasure?

Katy Perry.

Biggest pet peeve?

Liars and fakes and cheats.

Favorite designer from past seasons of Project Runway?


Project Runway challenge you wish they'd bring back for your season?

The avant-garde ones are my favorite.

Project Runway challenge you hope they don't bring back?

Any kind of a commission for a child.

Your take on team challenges ... love them or hate them?

Hate. Too many egos and different skill sets trying to create one singular work.

How did you end up auditioning for Project Runway?

My friends and family have been pressuring me for quite some time. A few of the recruiters have been in touch with me these past few years, encouraging me to audition.

Why do you think you will win Project Runway?

Once I have my mind set on something I will work my butt off until I get it. I am extremely driven and persistent.