There have been some great African American designers on the Project Runway, but Dom Streater was the first one to win the designer competition. The 24-year-old from Philadelphia, PA created a vibrant, cohesive 10 piece collection (my favorite out of the four finalist) for the final challenge at Fashion Week that crowned her the new winner!
Project Runway is a fashion designer competition. Week after week, designers are tasked with creating looks for a specific challenge. After each challenge, a designer is eliminated until there are 3-4 designers left. The remaining designers are faced with the ultimate challenge of presenting a 10 piece collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The winner receives:
- $150,000 from GoBank, the award-winning new bank account made to be used on a mobile phone;
- $50,000 of next generation technology from HP and Intel to help enable their creativity and launch their new business;
- a year’s supply of Resource Natural Spring Water and an all-expense paid, luxurious spa retreat for two to the exotic Maldives, courtesy of Resource Water;
- a chance to design and sell an exclusive collection at Belk;
- a complete sewing and crafting studio from Brother Sewing and Embroidery;
- a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine;
- a 2014 Lexus IS 350;
- a $100,000 fabric allowance from Tide Pods to inspire fashions that truly pop
- $50,000 styling contract with L’Oréal Paris.
Talk about a prize package! Not bad for a designer, who before Project Runway, was working as a hostess and animal caretaker.
Dom recently sat down for a Q&A Session with Project Runway following her win. Check out part of her interview:
You have a background in textile design, is that correct?
I went to Moore College, which is a school that was founded on textile design. A lot of the textile courses go hand in hand with the fashion courses there. I took a lot of textile courses when I was in college. I became a very textile-oriented designer because of that.
Is that why you gravitated toward using prints as your main focus in your finale collection?
That’s exactly why. I love prints. It’s incredibly hard to find a good print. There’s print diarrhea in fabric stores. Sometimes I go in fabric stores and I can’t believe some of the prints I see. Like, who designed this? Really? Really? Who’s gonna buy – there’s some insane stuff. I got into fashion when I started making clothes for my Barbies because I didn’t like what they were wearing. I’ve always been like that: If I don’t see something I like, I want to make it. And that’s how I am with textiles, too. If I have a vision for something I want it to be as accurate as possible to what I had in mind.
You’re the first African-American to win “Project Runway.” That’s got to be kind of exciting, right?
Yeah! It was never something that was on my mind initially – I didn’t even realize it until the day after, when someone mentioned it. I am incredibly honored. I’m so happy to be the first to do something and to set that example. I personally never thought that I could never make it, but there might be some young women of color who don’t think they can make it in fashion, so I’m glad to be that example better for them.
What kind of woman will you have in mind when you design your next work?
I’m working on a fall/winter collection for next year, and hopefully I’ll be able to show that in February. I’m deciding to self-title my collection. I’m really excited. It’s very me, but it’s a new direction that I’m excited for. The woman I’m looking to design for? Ideally, I would love for every woman to wear my clothing, to be a Dom girl! But the woman I’m thinking about lives a real life. She works for a living. She lives in the city. She lives a fast-paced, active life, and she wants clothes that can keep up with her, but that are fashion-forward and exuberant. She likes to wear fun clothing. I’m not a wallflower, I’m not boring, and I don’t want my girl to be boring either. That’s the person I think about when I’m designing: Someone who has that confidence, who wants to wear great prints and look amazing in them. That’s what I have in mind when I put my pencil to paper.
Click here to view the entire interview.
Photos by Oh No They Didn’t