A Jackson fashion designer competes in ‘Project Runway’

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A local fashion designer made his way onto the longest runway of his career: Project Runway.

In an apartment in Fondren, folks can find Mississippi’s first fashion designer to go onto Bravo’s fashion television show Project Runway.

Aaron Michael is not originally from Mississippi, but calls the state his home. He said Fondren inspired him when auditioning for Season 19.

“The neighborhood is awesome, it’s inspiring actually. This dress was based off of Campbell’s Bakery and it was one of my audition pieces for Project Runway. And the other piece looked like Walker’s Drive-In sign and then the other was like this building. It was a multitude of colors, ”Michael said.

After competing against 15 other designers from across the country, Michael made it to the final 6 where he was unfortunately cut from the show.

However, Michael doesn’t see that as a loss. In fact, it’s helped his career.

“You know, I didn’t win Project Runway, but I won because people noticed me. They saw me, they saw the clothes that I make and instead of coming home and having to plan a collection for New York Fashion Week and wait another 6 month or 8 months to actually get to work, I came home and went to work, ” Michael said.

Since being back in Mississippi, Michael has made a knit line, completed custom orders, and extravagant evening gowns.

But it’s not just help his local clientele … Real Housewife of Potomac, Giselle Bryant, and American Costume Designer, John David Ridge, have reached out about his work.

“I get to do that because of this show,” Michael said.

Michael said he is grateful for being one of only a few hundred to ever compete on the show and wouldn’t trade the 8 hour sewing days for anything.

“As you heard on the show, I wanted to be Miss America or Barbie or something like that and I got my dream. I have a Real Housewife as a client and I live in Jackson, Mississippi. I mean come on, ”Michael said.

Michael said he learned a lot of new fashion skills on Project Runway and, because of that, folks can expect to see pieces made with more “decadent fabrics” and even a bridal line in the near future.

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