project runway all stars

How Justin LeBlanc Makes It Work: Our Exclusive Interview!

We’ve been rooting for Justin LeBlanc this season on Project Runway All Stars, and thought it fitting that we re-post our interview with him from this summer.  Stay tuned for more interviews with current All Star Designers!

Photo by Curtis Brown

Justin LeBlanc

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.

Photo by Curtis Brown

Test Tube Gown and 3-D Printed Accessory by Justin LeBlanc

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.

Photo by Curtis Brown

Test Tube Gown and 3-D Printed Accessory By Justin LeBlanc

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 

Photo by Curtis Brown

Justin LeBlanc

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.

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PROJECT RUNWAY ALLSTARS SEASON 4 PREVIEW!

Project Runway All Stars Season 4 Cast

Project Runway All Stars Season 4 Cast

Project Runway announced it’s cast for Season 4 not long ago, and now there is a trailer released for your viewing pleasure. (Watch it Here) As expected, there’s no lack of glamour or drama!  We can’t wait!  Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for our exclusive interviews with designers, Dmitri, Peach, and Kate!  For now, take a peek at our recent feature on designer Justin from Season 12!

 

How Suede Makes It Work

Designer Suede of Project Runway and All Stars

Designer Suede of Project Runway and All Stars (Photo Credit Springs Creative Group)

From the moment he stepped into the Project Runway workroom, Suede made his mark.  He was destined to be a PR legend.  He knew how to brand himself, and he even referred to himself in third person when doing his on-camera interviews.  We think this was just his brilliant way to make sure you never forgot who he was.  Suede definitely has a punk rock vibe, but he doesn’t shy away from color or print.  His runway collection from Season 5 demonstrates his love of texture, sparkle, and feminine silhouettes.  Suede recently took some time away from his extremely busy schedule to interview with us, and we’re so excited to share what he’s been up to with all of you!

HOW SUEDE MAKES IT WORK

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

Suede – Project Runway Season 5, the show’s final Season on Bravo, and Project Runway All*Stars Season 2, on Lifetime.

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

Suede created the SUEDEsays™ Brand after appearing on Season 5 of Project Runway.  Our design aesthetic ranges from Classic, Edgy, & Flirty for young ladies, to Prep, Sport, and Rock for young men.  We are international and in over 4,000 stores in the United States alone.   Our mission statement is to bring affordable, timely, trend right products to market.

Suede Says Menswear Looks

Suede Says Menswear Looks (Photo Credit Tom Contrino)

Suede Says Brand "Rock Your Prom" Designs

Suede Says Brand “Rock Your Prom” Designs (Photo Credit Tom Contrino)

4)  Who have you met or worked with during or since the Project Runway experience that you are most proud of or excited about?

Our biggest accomplishment has certainly been launching the SUEDEsays™ brand, and being able to work with the everyday consumer internationally and in over 4,000 stores in the United States.  We have an exclusive line of Special Occasion Fabrics with Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, which is beyond thrilling for us.  While it’s always fun to dress celebs, our biggest joy comes from working with the all the home fashionistas out there and providing inspiration.

Suede Says "Rock Your Prom" Fabrics for JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores

Suede Says “Rock Your Prom” Fabrics for JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores (Photo Credit Springs Creative Group)

3)  What was the most challenging thing about the Project Runway experience BESIDES the challenges themselves?

Besides the obvious, the most challenging thing about being on Project Runway was stepping into the great unknown – no family, no friends, no contact with the outside world while on set – not knowing how you would place, and being sequestered in a bubble with so many other talented designers.

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

We work about a year in advance, so we are working on product assortment for 2015, coming up with new concepts, all the while managing current assortments with our various retailers  Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, Wal*Mart, Hobby Lobby, and Hancock Fabrics to mention a few.

Suede Says for Simplicity Patterns

Suede Says for Simplicity Patterns (Photo Credit Tom Contrino)

6) How has Social Media impacted your life after Project Runway?

After appearing on Project Runway, our door to social media became fully open.  We live in the age of Social Media, so it’s paramount to connect with your fan base and consumers.  We get e-mails on a daily basis from people all over the world.  We love hearing from everyone, and we get back to all who do reach out to us.  Be sure to visit us at SUEDEsays.com and feel free to shoot us a message through the website, or directly to uROCKit@SUEDEsays.com

Suede Says Design

Suede Says Design

7)  Besides the basics, what sewing notion or tool could you NEVER do without?

The tool we can’t live without remains a secret for now <wink>, as we are working with our partners to bring this new tool to market.   Promise, once it comes out it will have all of you buzzing and totally excited – stay tuned kittens!!

8)  Is there anything else you’d like us to know or see?

To keep up with all things Suede be sure to check us out at SUEDEsays.com.

For the full line of SUEDEsays patterns visit: SUEDEsays™ Patterns 

For the full line of SUEDEsays fabrics visit: SUEDEsays™ Fabrics  

Suede Says for Simplicity Patterns

Suede Says for Simplicity Patterns

Special Thanks to Suede for taking the time to answer our questions.  Suede, we wish you all the best and we commend you for your business savvy! – C.Scott

How Johnathan Kayne Makes It Work

 

Johnathan Kayne’s designs sparkle, just like their creator.  In the literal sense, his signature gowns are covered in Swarovskis, but figuratively, they reflect the care and love Jonathan puts into designing them.  We would go so far as to say that Johnathan is the event gown guru of Project Runway.  Johnathan has the market cornered for red carpets, beauty pageants, and proms.  We would also refer to Johnathan as a Project Runway pro, as he has done his time on a regular season, and a season of All Stars.   Recently, we had the wonderful pleasure of speaking with Johnathan, and he shared with us all of the very exciting things he has going on in his sparkly world.

HOW JOHNATHAN KAYNE MAKES IT WORK

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

I competed on Season 3 on Project Runway and was a Top 5 finalist.  I also competed on Project Runway All Stars Season 2.

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

My design style is very elegant and feminine. My shoe and dress collections are typically adorned with Swarovski crystals and intricate hand beading.

Johnathan Kayne Design SS2014

Johnathan Kayne Design SS2014

 

3.  What was the most challenging thing about the Project Runway experience BESIDES the challenges themselves?

Honestly, the most challenging aspect was trying to figure out exactly what the judges were looking for each challenge.

 

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

I have been most excited to work with and design for Jennifer Lopez, Lee Brice, Martina McBride since my Project Runway experience.

Gown by Johnathan Kayne

Lee and Sara Brice at the American Country Music Awards

 

Maggie Rose at the CMT Awards

Maggie Rose at the CMT Awards

 

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

I have moved my home and entire business operation back to my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.  I also serve as a red carpet fashion correspondent for Country Weekly Magazine and Zuus Media. I am building my brand as the go-to red carpet designer of the south.

I am prepping to launch my SS 2015 collections debuting this fall. I also have hired a good friend and Project Runway All Star, Joshua McKinley, to collaborate on an evening wear collection.

This is the first time in history that two Project Runway Alum have collaborated on a collection!

From itsjoshuamcklinley instagram

Johnathan with collaborator and friend, Designer Joshua McKinley (From itsjoshuamcklinley instagram)

 

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

A seam ripper.

 

7. How has social media impacted your life after Project Runway?

Social media has allowed me to give the world a closer look at my creative vision, and allows for my fans to see what inspires me.  I believe a picture truly is worth a thousand words, and a video, millions. We try to inspire our followers through our collections and through our social media. I love connecting with our fans, and am so thankful and blessed to have such beautiful people across the world as followers.

(Johnathan Kayne social media: Twitter: Johnathan_Kayne, YouTube: johnathankayne, Facebook: www.facebook.com/johnathankayne, Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/johnathankayne/)

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

Check out my website, www.JohnathanKayne.com where you will see all of my current collections, custom designs, and related media. Also please like and follow all of my social media links on my website to stay up to date with my brand and I.

Model: Chanley Painter, Photo by Adrian

Johnathan Kayne Dress, Model: Chanley Painter, Photo by Adrian

Thank you so much to Johnathan for his participation and generous contributions to this piece.  Johnathan, it has been a pleasure chatting with you, we wish you all the best! – C.Scott

All text and images provided by Johnathan Kayne unless watermarked, linked, or specified.

 

How Melissa Fleis Makes It Work

Melissa Fleis, Fashion Designer

Melissa Fleis, Fashion Designer

 

If you’re looking for a Project Runway alum with edge and drive, Melissa Fleis is your woman.  A finalist from season ten, and a competitor on All Stars season three, she plays with leather, angle and line, often accented with pops of color.  She likes her black, but she’s not afraid to think outside of the little black box that some designers can get trapped in.  Melissa  uses color wisely, whether it’s to accent her desired silhouette, or to draw attention to details.  She’s a badass, sexy woman, and when we look at her clothes, that’s who we envision wearing them.  We caught up with Melissa, getting her fashion hustle on from San Francisco, and she shared more details about what’s up-and-coming in her fashionable world.  Before we give too much away, we’ll let her tell you in her own words.

HOW MELISSA FLEIS MAKES IT WORK

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

Melissa Fleis, fashion designer based in San Francisco.  I was a finalist on Project Runway Season 10, and designer on Project Runway All Stars Season 3.

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

Artisanal modern design with a feminine edge.
MelissaFleis-24-3219081779-O
From Melissa Fleis' Defiant Collection

From Melissa Fleis’ Defiant Collection

 

3.  What was the most challenging thing about the Project Runway experience BESIDES the challenges themselves?

The most challenging thing for me was time management. I always found myself working until the final seconds before the runway.

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

I have been showing a lot with Mychael Knight, Daniel Esquivel, Jeffrey Sebelia, and Michelle Lesniak. I can’t say who I’m proud of the most. I’m just proud of us all!
Melissa at Dirty Habit, Palomar Hotel, San Francisco

Melissa at Dirty Habit, Palomar Hotel, San Francisco

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

I continue to work on my own collections, as well as, custom orders, and designing uniforms for a new Kimpton restaurant in San Francisco. Hustling to make this all work!

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

My leather hammer!

 

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

Some of my pieces are currently being sold at CHURCH Boutique in Los Angeles and Olivia Boutique in Los Altos, CA. I will also be launching my e-commerce site soon, so customers can order directly from the website!
(Update:  Since our interview, Melissa has launched her site!  You can find it here: http://melissafleis.com)
From Melissa Fleis' Defiant Collection

From Melissa Fleis’ Defiant Collection

Thanks so much to Melissa for taking the time to talk to us!  Melissa, we wish you nothing but the best with the Defiant Collection and the new site! – C.Scott
You can get in touch with Melissa on Twitter @MelissaFleis, or check out the website at melissafleis.com.
All text and images provided by Melissa Fleis unless watermarked, linked, or specified.