In Season 12 of Project Runway, the incredible batch of designers did not disappoint. Shining in the forefront of the talented group was Justin LeBlanc, Assistant Professor in The College of Design at North Carolina State University. Justin, who has interned with Alexander McQueen and Nick Cave, was a designer who demonstrated innovative style, and a fighting will to win. Justin is no stranger to overcoming obstacles; he grew up without his sense of hearing. Through a recent cochlear implant he has acquired hearing, but his developed sense of creating strong visuals was honed without the sense of sound, and we think this lends so much to Justin’s original aesthetic. As a finalist in Season 12, Justin wowed the audience with his unconventional gown made of test tubes and his 3-D printed accessories. It goes without saying that Justin’s designs inspire. They inspire awe, creativity, inquisitiveness, and most of all, we know that they will inspire the future of fashion.
HOW JUSTIN LEBLANC MAKES IT WORK
1. Who are you, and what season/s did you participate in?
My name is Justin LeBlanc, and I was on Season 12 of Project Runway. I was one of the top three finalists.
2. Please give a brief description of your design style.
My design style focuses on the exploration of new materials and technologies ranging from the use of innovative materials, to 3-D printing. Through the use of technology, I am able to challenge the viewers as to what is considered to be the norm in fashion.
I also utilize architectural and textural elements in my designs. You will always see interesting combinations of textiles and the use of shape and form in my garments. Intricate gathering and layering are characteristic of my garments. I also use patterns to accentuate the form of my garments.
3. What was the most challenging thing about the Project Runway experience BESIDES the challenges themselves?
The most challenging thing about Project Runway was the day-to-day schedule. It was grueling, both physically and emotionally. There was constant uncertainty about what the next day would bring, and very little time to create. It required a great deal of stamina and focus. You had to be at the top of your game without the support of friends and family, and in the midst of what was, at best, organized chaos.
4. Who have you met or worked with during or since the Project Runway experience that you are most proud of or excited about?
Well, that would have to be Tim Gunn. I haven’t spoken to him since the PR days but through his support in tough times, constructive criticism, constant respect, and endless encouragement, he made me a better designer and person.
I have been able to channel my experience on Project Runway into what I love the most—designing and teaching and (I hope) challenging students. I learned a lot about designing and my abilities as I worked through each PR challenge. I learned through the failures and triumphs. I have also been able to reflect on that experience and use it to inspire my and challenge my students, and to share my experience with students in other universities.
5. What have you been working on, and what are you excited about professionally since Project Runway?
I’ve recently finished teaching the Spring semester at North Carolina State University. I also presented my recent Fall/Winter Collection 2014/15 at Charleston Fashion week, and more recently at a show in Houston. It has received wonderful reviews, and I can’t wait to show my next collection. I am currently working on my Spring/Summer 2015 collection, which will be my first solo show, debuting at the end of August.
6. Besides the basics, what sewing notion or tool could you NEVER do without?
I could never live without my rulers! I use them to plan the intricate layering and outlines of my garments. And of course, I want to make sure that I use the measurements needed to create the best fit for whomever wears my garments.
7. Is there anything else you’d like us to know or see?
If you want to keep up with me, make sure you follow me on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest news and events relating to my work at @JLeBlancDesign. Also, you will soon be able to buy products from my Fall/Winter Collection and 3-D printed items on JLeBlancDesign.com
We’d like to thank Justin so very much for all of his generous input, and beautiful images. We wish him the best of luck in everything he does in the future, and hope to stay in touch! It has been a pleasure chatting with you, Justin! -C. Scott
All text and photo content provided by Justin LeBlanc, and photos credited to Curtis Brown, unless watermarked, linked, or specified.