Project Runway fashion

Staying Real

Project Runway alumnus agree the show gave them a platform, but it was up to them to do something with it.

JIM POWERS Fashion Week El Paseo

Project Runway fashion
Michael Costello does an Instagram Live video of designer Christopher Palu answering questions during the Project Runway press conference at Fashion Week El Paseo.

While there are certain ‘realities’ to being part of a reality TV show, Project Runway alumnus agree the show gave them a platform they might not have ever been able to reach.

Five of the six designers whose collections graced the runway at Fashion Week El Paseo March 21 faced the spotlight glare of Project Runway.

“Ever since the show, it has opened a lot of doors for me,” said Palm Springs’ Michael Costello, who was on Season 8. “It has given me a platform I wanted. However, I don’t say the show was my success. I’ve had to work 10 times harder since the show. I’ve never stopped since 2010.”

The show also either reinforced or produced new work ethics which have stayed with the designers as they face the challenges of finding an audience for their creations.

“Every single day, Tim Gunn used to tell us that you have to make it work,” Costello said. “That has stayed with me. I have learned I have to have a make it work moment every day.”

To young designers looking at fashion as a career, Char Glover offered advice that has served her even before appearing on Project Runway, season 13.

Audience members listen to the Project Runway alumni talk about their experiences on the show and where they are now.

“Listen to your voice,” she said. “If you have a design that is different than everyone else, your customer is out there. They are waiting for your voice. Speak to what you do, have confidence, and work hard.”

Christopher Palu, a season 10 veteran of Project Runway, said it’s important to stay the course and not veer off.

“My advice would be practice. Practice your talent,” Palu said. “Always think of the next thing you are going to do. If you’re working on fall, start thinking about spring. Aways be creative and moving forward. Don’t ever stop and take a breath. When you take a breath, that’s when you relax too long.”

Read the Fine Print

Chris March, who appeared on Project Runway season 4 and also enjoyed a one-year stint of his own reality show, Mad Fashion, said the contract they signed to be on Project Runway brought new meaning to the hazards of the career

“In every reality show contract, there is a special page that says even if you are decapitated, they are not responsible,” March said. “Like in big bold letters.”

“Oh my God, I remember that,” Palu chimed in.

Chris March said when he hosted his own reality show, Mad Fashion, he was amazed at the lengths the show’s producers would go to create drama.

VIDEO: Char Glover, who was on Project Runway, season 13, talks about her recent move to Los Angeles from Detroit and the challenges of fashion design.

VIDEO: Chris March says after appearing on Project Runway, season 4, customers did not come flocking to him.