Under The Gunn

How Oscar Lopez Makes It Work

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 Photo by Natasha Kertes

This Spring, Lifetime replaced a second annual season of Project Runway with it’s new fashion designer series, Under The Gunn, hosted by the incomparable, Tim Gunn.  We were skeptical at first, but after seeing the magical garment construction of Oscar Lopez, from Coral Gables, Florida, we were hooked.  Much to our delight, Oscar was the winner of Under The Gunn, and he’s been caught up in a whirlwind of work and exciting opportunities since then.   Just this month, he has replica garments from Under The Gunn being sold through show sponsor Francesca’s, and a feature shoot in Marie Claire magazine.  We had the opportunity to catch up with the very busy, and extremely gracious, Oscar for an EXCLUSIVE interview about his Under The Gunn experience, and what life is like after being crowned the next great fashion designer.

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Photo by Yobe Photography

HOW OSCAR LOPEZ MAKES IT WORK

1.  Who are you, and what season or show did you participate in?

My name is Oscar Lopez and I am the winner of the first season of Project Runway’s “Under the Gunn” series.

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

I am not much of a “ready-to-wear” kind of designer.  Although I do some, my design style is more evening wear, with ensembles that carry the wow factor, and that are elegant, chic, sexy, and glamorous at the same time.  I like the use of beautiful embroideries, sequins, and french laces.  Creating a plain and simple look is just not me.  I leave that for other designers!

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

The pressure and time constraint to design and execute a complete look in less than 8 hours. The fact that we weren’t allowed to have any kind of contact with anybody outside of the production team, meaning family or friends.  Being a bit sleep deprived after a while, due to so many hours of filming daily.

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

Rachel Roy, she is an extremely gentle, humble and sweet human being. I am very excited that she picked me to design her 2014 Met Gala gown, and a few other things that I can’t say for now.

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Rachel Roy in her Oscar Lopez custom gown (and photos from Oscar’s studio) for the 2014 Met Gala.

5.  What have you been working on, and what are you excited about since Under The Gunn?

Working from Monday through Sunday!  Between the work, the trips, the interviews, the galas that I had already committed to prior to the show, the TV appearances, and everything else, it has become a bit overwhelming, but very happy at the same time.  Can’t wait for my Francesca’s collection to come out, and my Marie Claire Spread!

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Oscar’s winning runway design on Under The Gunn, and Francesca’s reproduction.

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

My clothing care tailor’s ham.

7.  How has social media impacted your life after Under The Gunn?

Social media has always been an amazing outlet for my work, and from the moment I was announced as a participant on Under the Gunn the fans started to pile up.  It’s great to be able to interact with people across the US and abroad almost instantly, as they were watching the show.  Now that the show is done, a great amount of people continue to seek my work, and hire me as their designer through social media.  It is an excellent way of keeping in touch with those that admire my work, and in return I get to give them first hand account of what’s going on with me, and what I’m doing next.

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

Yes, that I thank very much and from the bottom of my heart, all the people, fans, and friends that followed me from the time the show first aired, till now.  Thank you for all the support and beautiful comments sent my way.  Thanks also for supporting me, and rooting for me all the way.  Thanks especially to my life partner.  Without him, this triumph wouldn’t be possible.

Watch out for my next surprises on Instagram and Twitter @realoscarlopez!

Oscar Gold-Dress 1

 

We’d like to thank Oscar so very much for all of his generous, honest, 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, Oscar! -C. Scott

All text and photo content provided by Oscar Lopez, unless watermarked, linked, or specified.

 

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How Blake Smith Makes It Work

Blake Smith, Designer

Blake Smith, Designer

    Blake Smith may have been the designer who showed the most range on Project Runway’s Under The Gunn.  We especially loved watching Blake demonstrate his amazing signature skill of draping and cutting chiffon to create shape and texture in his garments.  Our favorite garment of Blake’s was from the Red Carpet Challenge in Episode 3, when he created a stunning multi-colored gown in soft pastels.  We are confident that any young starlet would love to wear this piece on The Carpet.  The dress was sold in the Under The Gunn auctions, and some lucky person purchased it for a steal!  We’re sad we missed our chance to own it!  We had the pleasure of catching up with Blake recently, to hear about what’s new and exciting for him since Under The Gunn.

HOW BLAKE SMITH MAKES IT WORK:

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

Blake Smith, Project Runway:Under the Gunn (Season 1)

 

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

My design aesthetic focuses on combining modern, minimalistic and graphic elements with ethereal, heavenly details to create beautifully intricate pieces of wearable art for women who enjoy self-expression through clothing.
Blake Smith Dress Design

Blake Smith Dress Design

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

That’s a toughie… I would say that my personal hardship on Under The Gunn was actually trying to stay true to my design identity each week. I went into each challenge knowing my design capabilities and then figured out how to adapt to the challenge; but it’s a difficult task to be 100 percent true to your own vision whilst trying to please a mentor, Mr. Gunn, and a judging panel.  I found myself proving to be a diverse designer, when the judges wanted to see a severely edited point of view.
Dress Detail from a Blake Smith Design on Under The Gunn

Dress Detail from a Blake Smith Design on Under The Gunn

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?

The whole experience opened up amazing networking possibilities with myself and the other designers/mentors. I try to keep up with the majority of my fellow designers, but I have made a long-term friendship with Michelle Uberreste! We have a very similar take on fashion and I would love to collaborate with her to create a beautiful, apocalyptic collection someday!

 

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

I am working full-time designing for the LC Lauren Conrad brand for Kohl’s NYC Design Office, while steadily trying to work on a small capsule collection of my own that I hope to launch later this year.  I also have been working on some garments for private clientele.
LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl's

LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s

 

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

I LOVE my super tiny black/white embroidery scissors that were given to me as a gift from Project Runway Season 7 finalist, Mila Hermanovski. They are such a great pair of “snips” to have when you are in a pinch and are very compact and easy to store!

 

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

Keep your eyes open for newness coming your way later this year!  And, you can always follow me on Instagram @royboy8888 or Twitter @royblakesmith for goofy pictures and sassy sayings!
Blake Smith Gown in Progress

Blake Smith Gown in Progress

Special thanks to Blake for taking the time to chat with us.  Blake, we wish you all the best with all your upcoming projects! -C. Scott

All interview text and photo content provided by Blake Smith, unless watermarked, linked, or specified.