Kenley Collins is one of the designers competing in the season's Project Runway. Hailing from Florida, she now lives and designs in New York, where she's been working on her own line in a small boutique, as well as freelancing and teaching. She recently told us about the show, her fellow designers and what trends appear to be back in New York.
How did you get started in fashion? I started reconstructing vintage when I was a teenager and started making clothes from scratch about 3 years ago. I moved to New York almost 3 years ago with now job and a marketing degree from Florida State University. I got a job in sales for mass market women's wear and within a week was moved to a design position. Got all my experience that I needed for 2 years there then started my own label, freelanced for children's wear, and started teaching sewing.
How has the Project Runway experience been thus far? This whole experience hasn't really hit yet but for the most part its been all kinds of things; fun, emotional, stressful, exhausting.
Blayne's "Girlicious" schtick gets tiring after just one already-edited episode--how bad was it in the work room? It wasn't bad. Blayne has alot of catch phrases that didnt bother me because he was such a sweet guy.
What are some trends you particularly like and don't like? I don't like when you see major trends on people over and over again to the point of just played out. For example, the thin head bands that cut across your forehead over your hair. At first, it was "a look" now its just a bad trend. I do like when someone has a look that is there own. No matter what it is.
Are there any specific-to-New York fashions you've been noticing recently? 80s prints/colors are back.
Who are your fashion icons? I love Gwen Stefani, Grace Kelly, and of course Audrey Hepburn.
Describe your fashion aesthetic. Colorful Loud prints (mixed) with classic, sophisticated silouhuettes.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story. I was sharing a cab with a friend of a friends late one night after partying. The guy was drunk and was kind of hitting on me. When I showed no interest back, he opened the cab door in a good 30 mph movement and rolled right out of it. It was the strangest thing I've ever experienced. He was ok but the cab driver and I decided not to go back for him.
Which New Yorker do you most admire? I admire Betsey Johnson. Is she an original New Yorker? Not really sure.
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? Cheaper rent.
Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York? I thought about leaving New York when I was unhappy working from 8 a.m. to midnight every night designing for horrible mass market womens wear getting horrible pay. But then I decided to take a risk and quit and do the hardest thing in New York; work for yourself and still pay the bills.
What's your current soundtrack to the city? Where they Wander by the Horrorpops
Best cheap eat in the city. Chat n' Chew.
Best venue to see music. Bowery Ballroom.