Joshua McKinley

Age 25, Sunnyside, NY - Out Episode 14

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: (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?

A: iPhone.

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.