How Sam Donovan Makes It Work

Sam Donovan Selfie

Sam Donovan Selfie

Sam Donovan is a young designer from the Boston area, full of ideas and an expert at pin-pointing what’s next in ready-to-wear.  He is a Parsons alum, and has the skill set to make any Alma Mater proud.  We saw this skill demonstrated on Project Runway’s Under The Gunn, and were intrigued early on. Especially when he put a pair of overalls down the runway in a red carpet challenge, and WON.  We caught up with Sam recently, to see what he’s been up to since the show aired.

Photos from Lifetime's Under the Gunn

Sam Donovan’s Evening Wear Overalls


1.  Who are you, and what season/s did you participate in? 

I’m Sam Donovan, Runner-Up on Season 1 of Project Runway: Under the Gunn.

2.  Please give a brief description of your design style.

I like to think of my design style as a revved-up version of casual wear-my girl is the most fabulously dressed girl at her Sunday brunch in Brooklyn. Very street wear inspired, with graphic, athletic lines, done in an eclectic mix of prints and textures.


From Sam Donovan's Twitter

A Slice of Sam Donovan’s Under The Gunn Designs

3.  What was the most challenging thing about the Under The Gunn experience BESIDES the challenges themselves?

I think the most challenging aspect of Under the Gunn was trying not to get stuck in a rut, while making sure I always finished on time. I may have defaulted to one too many circle skirts in the interest of maintaining my time management.

4.  Who have you met or worked with during or since the Under The Gunn experience that you are most proud of or excited about?

Asha Ama Daniels (a fellow Under the Gunn designer) has been such an inspiration to me. She has a great energy and resilience to the harshness of the fashion world that comes out in her work, and she’s energized me to convey my rebellious attitude towards fashion in my work.

Sam Donovan and his mentor on Under The Gunn, Mondo

Sam Donovan and His mentor on Under The Gunn, Mondo

5.  What are you currently working on or excited about professionally?

Right now I’m working on some client work (mostly drag queens) as well as applying for jobs, and thinking about my own work, and where I want to take it in the future.

6.  Besides the basics, what sewing notion or tool could you NEVER do without?

I have my grandmother’s red measuring tape from her old sewing kit, that I never work without.  It’s like she’s draping the garment with me when I construct.  Also, sharpies for marking stubborn fabrics.

7.  Is there anything else you’d like us to know or see?

I think if there’s anything else people need to know about me, it’s that I generally use more color than I showed on Under the Gunn!
Sam with his Under The Gunn Finale Collection

Sam with his Under The Gunn Finale Collection

If you want to connect with Sam, check out his website at!

Special thanks to Sam for taking the time to chat with us.  Sam, we wish you all the best, in whatever you do, and if you’re ever in New York, get in touch! -C. Scott

All interview text and photo content provided by Sam Donovan, unless watermarked, linked, or specified.


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