Q: What was the first garment you ever made?
A: I apologize but I can.t even recall what it was.
Q: What's playing on your iPod when you're designing?
A: Right now I am living for some old-school Brandy! Katy Perry, Mannequin; Jordin Sparks, One Step at a Time.
Q: When did you realize you had designer potential?
A: When I moved to New York at 18 to attend FIT, I realized I was on my journey, my path, and that I had something to give and a voice to be heard through clothing.
Q: Favorite designer(s)?
A: Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor and Rolf, Gianni Versace.
Q: Current occupation?
A: Assistant designer for private-label brands.
Q: Can you describe past jobs you've had?
A: Freelance design work.
Q: What is a fashion must?
A: Tailored blazers and a haute pair of boots.
Q: What is your design training?
A: BFA, The Fashion Institute of Technology; Polimoda, Florence, Italy.
Q: Have you won any awards related to design?
A: In my associate's degree program, I was selected to participate in a fashion-show challenge between 15 FIT students and 15 Parsons students, who each developed a five-look collection shown over the course of two days.
Q: What are your strengths as a designer?
A: My ability to choose color, fabrics and notions that might otherwise go unused or untried, put 'em all in a blender, and come out with something truly exciting and inspiring.
Q: What are your weaknesses as a designer?
A: I don.t feel that it is so much about weaknesses as about something new to learn every day as a designer.
Q: What's influenced your designs over the years? AI love dramatics and the arts, and growing up in the theater has been a driving force in who I am as a designer. QWhat's your favorite material or fabric to work with?
A: I love neoprene and leather!
Q: What's the item you're most proud of designing?
A: My tank collection!
Q: Do you prefer sketching or draping?
A: Both. But I do love working straight from a pattern to a product.
Q: Do you prefer patterns or solids?
A: Great patterns move me; they trigger my design process and bodies for which they will work. But a solid is exactly that: a solid, and they really help to bring a collection together and form continuity.
Q: What are your favorite colors?
A: Neons, yellow in particular. And monochromatic is always safe and easy to wear and a favorite of my fellow New Yorkers. Remember, black is the new black!
Q: What's your biggest fear as a designer?
A: Not having the opportunity to travel the world and be influenced by other cultures and their dress.
Q: What fashion faux pas drives you crazy?
A: A pair of gorgeous high heels with the stickers still on the bottoms of the shoes!
Q: What's the ugliest thing you've ever worn?
A: I use to wear this larger-than-life ball-chain choker/necklace in middle school religiously, and I still am puzzled as to why.
Q: Who are your favorite style icons?
A: I look to Franco Moschino and Gianni Versace when in need of a boost! But my hair icons would definitely be a Cary Grant and James Dean mix!
Q: If you designed for the first lady, what would you design for her?
A: Beautiful tailoring, soft and sheer fabrics on top, and pump it up with some great detailing .I.m feeling a neon piping moment happening to enhance her gorgeous skin, and maybe a great leather pencil skirt with an exposed zipper!
Q: What celebrity would you like to design for?
A: Blake Lively. I would love to have her in a lace-and-mesh number, the idea of a second skin, in nude and sheer black tones, something along the lines of Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair.
Q: Who's your supermodel muse?
A: I enjoy the VS girls, so perhaps Miranda Kerr. She has the most beautiful, soft face . but maybe I would be using her just to get a chance to meet her hubby Orlando!
Q: What do you look for in a model?
A: A face and the eyes is what I fall in love with. It.s in an attitude and a self-confidence that I am most attracted to model.
Q: If you had to name your label, you'd call it . . .
A: Joshua McKinley.
Q: If you weren't designing, you'd be . . .
A: Bored! My life is about being inspired and creating, and all of my hard work has been to follow this dream and I am so humbled to be doing what I love.
Q: Dream place to set up your design business?
A: Right here in New York City! I love the garment district and I hope to set up shop there!
Q: Websites that feature your work, including your own site(s)?
A: joshuamckinley.com (under construction), and some photos on Facebook
Q: Any other cultures or places you wish you could design for?
A: Is the leather community a culture? Also the Army: My brother is serving in Iraq, and I would love to give to my country through high-tech design to make their jobs easier and more efficient.
Q: How were you described as a kid?
A: Curious, imaginative, full of energy.
Q: How are you described now?
A: I would like to think I would still be described as I was as a child, but with amazing growth of self and character.
Q: Can you describe your family?
A: In some ways it was a garden, with my father and mother being the farmers . they planted the seeds and nurtured them, supported them, but ultimately let them grow and learn for themselves.
Q: Marriage or kids?
A: Marriage is not even legal for me yet!
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: My beautiful dog Ally (black Lab mix). She's 13 years old!
Q: Do you have any nicknames?
A: I was never really a nickname kinda guy!
Q: Why are you (or aren't you) easy to live with?
A: Easy: I clean, I organize, and I truly care for my co-habitants. As much as I talk, I really am a great listener. Not easy: I am particular about things, like not leaving dishes in the sink and replacing things you use, and I like to have my space and things respected.
Q: What's your favorite hangout back home?
A: I don't really have a particular hangout, but delicious food, a brilliant cocktail and thought-provoking conversation are the best place to start!
Q: What are your hobbies besides designing?
A: Running, thrifting, experimenting with makeup, walking the streets of NY, watching movies.
Q: What are your favorite movies and TV shows?
A: Movies: 54, The Thomas Crown Affair, Burlesque, Pretty Woman, and don.t spill this, but any movie with J.Lo is a guilty pleasure. TV: I am a huge fan of Law and Order and CSI, love a good mystery and then a discovery, all in one hour!
Q: What are your favorite websites?
A: I don't peruse the Internet much unless I am researching.
Q: What are your favorite books and authors?
A: Malcolm Gladwell, Eckhart Tolle.
Q: iPhone, Android or BlackBerry?
Q: Fast food or gourmet?
A: Depends on the location and the company.
Q: Cooking or takeout?
A: After living in Italy for a year I love to cook, but I live in NY and my kitchen is smaller than my bathroom, so takeout is much more convenient!
Q: Favorite food?
A: Carpaccio de manzo, mussels and frites, pizza, steak, sour gummy worms!
Q: Beer or wine?
A: Vodka! An Amanda Bellows, please! Two lemons and black straws, cuz black is chic!
Q: Guiltiest pleasure?
A: Tanning on a sandy white beach with friends, relaxing and having the time of my life!
Q: Biggest pet peeve?
A: Putting toilet paper on the roll backwards. It becomes inconvenient and annoying!
Q: Who was your favorite past Project Runway designer?
A: Really enjoyed Stella and her leather.
Q: Project Runway challenge you hope they bring back for your season?
A: Loved the Gristedes challenge!
Q: Project Runway challenge you hope they don't bring back for your season?
A: The wedding dress challenge looked like a whole lotta drama!
Q: Your take on team challenges ... love them or hate them?
A: Working with people IS the industry, and I think they are crucial challenges to really see how people operate.
Q: How did you end up auditioning for Project Runway?
A: I had gone to open calls three times before, and submitted through the mail once.
Q: Why do you think you will win Project Runway?
A: I am strong and courageous, and live my life each day with desire, dedication and determination to be better than I was the day before. I plan on giving each challenge and each opportunity 150 percent, because that.s all I know how to do.