With 19 seasons and numerous spin offs across countries Project Runway has become a platform for aspiring designers to kickstart and advance their careers in the fashion industry.
Criticism has been directed towards the show's producers, who have been accused of providing little to no support to contestants. Some competitors even try to distance themselves from the show once they've completed their journey. However there are Project Runway participants who have truly thrived. They have excelled in areas such as designing wedding gowns, establishing their own boutiques collaborating with Disney and dressing renowned celebrities.
When it comes to measuring success among Project Runway alumni Christian Siriano undoubtedly takes the crown. He emerged as the victor of season 4 at an age of 21. Prior to his appearance on the show in 2008 Christian pursued studies at American InterContinental University abroad while also creating custom wedding gowns. Additionally he gained experience through internships with fashion houses like Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. Christians achievements have been widely recognized; he was even featured on Time Magazine's list of the 100 Influential People, in 2018. He has also held the position of a costume designer at Disney. Is a recognized member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. A diverse range of celebrities have had the privilege to wear his designs.
Christian, Chloe Dao, Leanne Marshall and Irina Shabayeva have all achieved success after their appearances on Project Runway. With three decades of experience in the fashion industry and a thriving boutique located in Houston, Texas it comes as no surprise that Chloe emerged as the designer of Project Runway season 2. Since then she has collaborated with QVC, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Salvation Army of Houston. Chloe also initiated an effort to distribute face masks to those in need while serving as a producer and judge for Project Runway Vietnam in 2014.
In contrast to others on this list Leanne Marshall was actually the winner of Season 5 in this popular design competition. Describing herself as an "designer" she impressed the judges with her collection, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week which showcased pieces in turquoise, ivory and sand colors. Over the years she has had the opportunity to style known celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Solange, Julianne Hough and Jane Fonda.
For the decade Marshall has established herself as a thriving designer in the bridal wear industry. However in May 2022 she made an announcement on her website. She revealed her plans to venture into a realm by introducing a ready to wear line that will be unveiled in 2023. We are eagerly anticipating its debut!
Leanne, winner of Project Runway season 5 has consistently amazed the fashion world's luminaries at New York Fashion Week since 2008. Her distinctive collection was launched in 2011. Can still be found both in boutiques and online. After her victory on the show Leanne relocated from Portland, Oregon to New York City where she established her design studio and flagship showroom within the Fashion District.
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Irina Shabayeva, who triumphed in the season of Project Runway, exclusively launched her bridal collection with Kleinfeld—known for its role on TLCs Say Yes To The Dress series. In addition to this accomplishment Irina introduced a to wear line as well as a lingerie collection worn by notable celebrities such as Carrie Underwood and Madonna. Irina Shabayeva emerged as the winner in Season of the show gaining recognition for her designs of coats and outerwear. After claiming the title Shabayeva went on to create outfits for Selena Gomez, such as the captivating butterfly dress worn at the People's Choice Awards and for Carrie Underwood, including an ombre gray ensemble featured on the cover of Underwood's album "Blown Away."
Additionally Shabayeva continues to offer personalized bridal couture through her website. Currently she holds the role of director at Maison MJZ, a French couture brand and also works as a stylist, to various celebrities. Irina participated in both season 3 and season 7 of Project Runway All Stars.
Many Other Contestants
Other contestants, from Project Runway, who were featured alongside the Real Housewives have also achieved success after the show. Anya Ayoung Chee, despite having four months of sewing experience, miraculously won the title in Season 9. Since then she has established a line of resort wear. Manages a boutique and cafe in Trinidad and Tobago. Anya also appeared as a mentor on Tim Gunn's spin off show called Under The Gunn. Erin Robertson, who received the Council of Fashion Designers of America Teen Vogue Scholarship went on to win Season 15 of Project Runway amidst some scandals. She has continued designing for her line called An Erin. Even collaborated on a collection with Starburst candy. Erins designs have been featured in publications including Marie Claire, Teen Vogue and Forbes.