QWhat was the first garment you ever made?
AI apologize but I can.t even recall what it was.
QWhat's playing on your iPod when you're designing?
ARight now I am living for some old-school Brandy! Katy Perry, Mannequin; Jordin Sparks, One Step at a Time.
QWhen did you realize you had designer potential?
AWhen 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.
AJean Paul Gaultier, Viktor and Rolf, Gianni Versace.
AAssistant designer for private-label brands.
QCan you describe past jobs you've had?
AFreelance design work.
QWhat is a fashion must?
ATailored blazers and a haute pair of boots.
QWhat is your design training?
ABFA, The Fashion Institute of Technology; Polimoda, Florence, Italy.
QHave you won any awards related to design?
AIn 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.
QWhat are your strengths as a designer?
AMy 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.
QWhat are your weaknesses as a designer?
AI don.t feel that it is so much about weaknesses as about something new to learn every day as a designer.
QWhat'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?
AI love neoprene and leather!
QWhat's the item you're most proud of designing?
AMy tank collection!
QDo you prefer sketching or draping?
ABoth. But I do love working straight from a pattern to a product.
QDo you prefer patterns or solids?
AGreat 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.
QWhat are your favorite colors?
ANeons, 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!
QWhat's your biggest fear as a designer?
ANot having the opportunity to travel the world and be influenced by other cultures and their dress.
QWhat fashion faux pas drives you crazy?
AA pair of gorgeous high heels with the stickers still on the bottoms of the shoes!
QWhat's the ugliest thing you've ever worn?
AI use to wear this larger-than-life ball-chain choker/necklace in middle school religiously, and I still am puzzled as to why.
QWho are your favorite style icons?
AI 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!
QIf you designed for the first lady, what would you design for her?
ABeautiful 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!
QWhat celebrity would you like to design for?
ABlake 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.
QWho's your supermodel muse?
AI 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!
QWhat do you look for in a model?
AA 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.
QIf you had to name your label, you'd call it . . .
QIf you weren't designing, you'd be . . .
ABored! 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.
QDream place to set up your design business?
ARight here in New York City! I love the garment district and I hope to set up shop there!
QWebsites that feature your work, including your own site(s)?
Ajoshuamckinley.com (under construction), and some photos on Facebook
QAny other cultures or places you wish you could design for?
AIs 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.
QHow were you described as a kid?
ACurious, imaginative, full of energy.
QHow are you described now?
AI would like to think I would still be described as I was as a child, but with amazing growth of self and character.
QCan you describe your family?
AIn 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.
QMarriage or kids?
AMarriage is not even legal for me yet!
QDo you have any pets?
AMy beautiful dog Ally (black Lab mix). She's 13 years old!
QDo you have any nicknames?
AI was never really a nickname kinda guy!
QWhy are you (or aren't you) easy to live with?
AEasy: 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.
QWhat's your favorite hangout back home?
AI don't really have a particular hangout, but delicious food, a brilliant cocktail and thought-provoking conversation are the best place to start!
QWhat are your hobbies besides designing?
ARunning, thrifting, experimenting with makeup, walking the streets of NY, watching movies.
QWhat are your favorite movies and TV shows?
AMovies: 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!
QWhat are your favorite websites?
AI don't peruse the Internet much unless I am researching.
QWhat are your favorite books and authors?
AMalcolm Gladwell, Eckhart Tolle.
QiPhone, Android or BlackBerry?
QFast food or gourmet?
ADepends on the location and the company.
QCooking or takeout?
AAfter 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!
ACarpaccio de manzo, mussels and frites, pizza, steak, sour gummy worms!
QBeer or wine?
AVodka! An Amanda Bellows, please! Two lemons and black straws, cuz black is chic!
ATanning on a sandy white beach with friends, relaxing and having the time of my life!
QBiggest pet peeve?
APutting toilet paper on the roll backwards. It becomes inconvenient and annoying!
QWho was your favorite past Project Runway designer?
AReally enjoyed Stella and her leather.
QProject Runway challenge you hope they bring back for your season?
ALoved the Gristedes challenge!
QProject Runway challenge you hope they don't bring back for your season?
AThe wedding dress challenge looked like a whole lotta drama!
QYour take on team challenges ... love them or hate them?
AWorking with people IS the industry, and I think they are crucial challenges to really see how people operate.
QHow did you end up auditioning for Project Runway?
AI had gone to open calls three times before, and submitted through the mail once.
QWhy do you think you will win Project Runway?
AI 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.