Project Runway Alumni Share Growth Since Show
TV exposure allows talented designers to fulfill dreams
Palm Springs' own Michael Costello has watched his business grown from 4 to 24 employees in a year.
Photo by Gregg Felsen
A year ago, Michael Costello had four people working for him.
Now his staff numbers 24. He has opened a showroom in Los Angeles. His website has attracted 60 million viewers.
That's what kind of year it has been for the Palm Springs fashion designer after his outfits were worn by Beyoncé, Shakira, and Britney Spears.
But it's not the first time Costello has been associated with named entertainers.
When he opened his first shop on Palm Canyon Drive across the street from the Hyatt Palm Springs at age 15, his first five customers were: Brooke Shields, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Barry Manilow
"I am not an overnight success," contends Costello in response to the question he often is asked. "Opening my shop in Palm Springs gave me opportunities and pushed me as far as I can to be at the point where I am today. Success is not something that happens overnight. You have to work really hard for it. You have to be so passionate about what you do."
Costello led the group of six Project Runway alumni first at a public meet-and-greet March 19 followed that evening with their fashion collections in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Fashion Week El Paseo. It's the fourth appearance by Project Runway designers in Palm Desert.
VIDEO: Hear from each of the Project Runway alumni plus Project Runway producer Rob Bagshaw
The rest of the cast included Viktor Luna, Uli Herzner, Irina Shabayeva, Ariyaphon Southiphong, and Helen Castillo.
Ari also runs her own manufacturing company in Hawaii, and Project Runway gave her the exposure both on the regular show and on Project Runway All-Stars that something more was expected of her.
"I see what I do as doing much more than just fashion," says Southiphong. "Contributing to the economy, to the fashion industry on a national basis and really pushing things that I really believe in. Going from being a TV personality to running your own business, now you have a lot of responsibility beyond your own ego and vanity. In that, you find purpose. That's everyone's lifelong goal is to find your purpose and pursue it."
- See related story: The Superstars of Project Runway