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Project Runway Winners: Where are They Now?

Project Runway Winners: Where are They Now? by Roxanne McDonald

Project Runway with Heidi Klum Well, more to the point, what are they creating?

I jumped on the “Project Runway” watchers’ wagon when it was in its third season (though I did get to see a re-run of Chloe win season two), so I not only miss the creative output of designers like Jeffrey Sebelia but am curious about what he is doing with his new title, and all.

Thought I’d therefore check-in on all three “Project Runway” winners.

Season 1 Winner, Jay McCarroll

I was impressed and intrigued with the first winner, Jay McCarroll, for when he won, though he said he needed a lot of money, he “opted to pursue other financial ventures”—rather than accept the $100,000-prize money! The Banana Republic mentorship? I don’t know.

McCarroll also stayed in New York part-time, continuing to create new projects while working on his branding—efforts he would soon thereafter do a documentary on called Project Jay (which aired on Bravo in February of 2006).

When it came time for the season two cattle call, McCaroll was there at Parsons to help choose the next contestants.

In September of 2006, McCarroll presented at Fashion Week his “Transport” collection—one which, as an anti-fur collection, was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. The “Transport” collection as he defined it would, he said, “take the fashion consumer to a higher plane of consciousness and encourage people to see fashion from a different perspective.”

Reportedly, he then changed the collection’s theme, first inspired by Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” to feature looks for men and women that carried a more “futuristic” theme.

Season 2 Winner, Chloe Dao

The effervescent Chloe Dao owns and operates the women’s clothing boutique, Lot 8, in Houston, Texas. She has done so since 2000, when Dao had opened the shop as a kind of testament to the eight-female family she is a member of, a family who emigrated after the Vietnam War from Laos to the U.S. (in 1979).

After her win on “Project Runway,” Dao had feature articles on her work in Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly, Lucky, and Elle (which was part of the final prize package), and continues to be interviewed in such publications as Fashion Wire Daily (FWD), wherein an interview with Jeanette Park reveals Chloe to remind us that while “people expect you to become this amazing accomplished designer right away…, they forget we are all young and small designers.”

But with big ideas and a tight 13-piece collection, after a 12-month contract with Designers Management Agency (DMA), Dao presented her “Simply. Chloe Dao.” collection on QVC—on May 10, 2007. The pieces sold out in the short block of time she was on the air.

With a talent for billowing yet tailored design and an appreciation for the connections winning “Project Runway” has brought her, Chloe tells Park (in April, 2007) that the best thing about winning is getting the opportunities to connect with “giant corporations that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own, much less have the guts to do myself.”

That, we who have seen her in action might say, is doubtful. Chloe Dao is selling in a New York boutique, selling out on QVC, and intends to sell more by way of wholesale in Dallas.

Season 3 Winner, Jeffrey Sebelia

Ah, the iconoclast with the coolest rocker, alternative, new edge lines of season three on “Project Runway” is still the head of the Cosa Nostra…the clothing label that he founded and still runs out of Los Angeles, that is.

As New York Fashion’s Amy Laroca tells us, Sebelia was selling to a few stores in the U.S., Japan, and Europe and was dressing a few celebrities [a number of whom are his friends].

His plans are vaguely alluded to, but from what I have found around the web, Sebelia will do what it takes to continue to design and sell. In a Second City Style interview with Lauren Dimet, he acknowledged how he would surely sell on QVC (“Sure, why not?” he said), and was all for the green movement: “I love it, he said, “If I can figure out how to use sustainable materials I would be an asshole not to.”

He would also likely admit to being an asshole for not putting food on the table, so Sebelia has reportedly (Annie Wu, TV Squad) taken on the costume design for the movie Bratz. For those “slutty dolls?” asks one interviewer. Yeah, those slutty dolls,” he answers.

Hey, if the rockers and the dolls and the zillions of Sebelia fans love it, who’s to argue?

Season 4 of Project Runway will not air this summer, but will premiere in late 2007.

SirLinksAlot Project Runway links

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