For almost 20 years, Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum (and later Christian Siriano and Karlie Kloss) have been looking everywhere for America’s next top fashion designers in Bravo’s popular reality show. Project Runway participants have been sewing like crazy since 2004 — while some of the winners are still shaping the fashion world to this day. The long-running reality show tests aspiring designers by putting material, time, and theme constraints on their creations.
However, even while winning the competition can be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to launch a successful career, some winners have gone on to see success in the field of fashion design more than someone else, with others even leaving the fashion world completely. You’ve heard of them, watched their fashion ups and downs, clapped (or booed) each time they won, and perhaps even paid for one of their creations! Here are all of our favorite Project Runway Winners now.
Jay McCarroll (Season 1)
In many respects, Jay is the Richard Hatch of “Project Runway,” renowned only because he set the bar so high that everyone who has gone after him has been driven to succeed and design with the same flair and energy that he did. On February 23, 2005, Jay defeated runner-up Kara Saun to win the first season of the show.
The show’s first winner received $100,000, mentoring from Banana Republic, and then got to showcase his work at the 2005 New York Fashion Week. He later gave back the money and guidance due to his personal reasons. McCarroll later taught at Philadelphia University and launched his own fashion brand. He then participated in MTV’s Celebrity Fit Club in 2010 and dropped 40 pounds in total.
Chloe Dao (Season 2)
Chloe Dao won the second season of Project Runway in March 2006, defeating runner-up Daniel Vosovic. It’s enough to say she has had plenty of time since then to expand her career, and she has done so. Her own label focuses on athletic clothing and bridal gowns.
Additionally, Dao hosts shopping events, sits on several fashion advisory boards, and collaborates with several non-profit organizations, like the Salvation Army. The work she creates is available on her website, chloedao.com. She was also a judge on the inaugural “Project Runway Vietnam” season, showing that Chloe is still close to her roots.
Jeffrey Sebelia (Season 3)
If you followed Project Runway’s third season, you’d remember that Jeffrey Sebelia was an edgy designer who had a villain story, even being accused of infidelity. Despite winning Season 3 and a $100,000 award, Sebelia’s personality was too strong for his first job following Project Runway.
Soon after his victory, Sebelia told in an interview that he is almost afraid to disclose what he is creating, but they are costumes for a movie. That wouldn’t have been too terrible, but Sebelia underlined it further by saying, “Yeah, those filthy dolls.”
Let’s just say that the comment wasn’t very well received. LA Weekly says that it “cost him the job.” But since then, Sebelia hasn’t been satisfied with just sitting back and relaxing. The designer has produced four unique fashion brands that are sold across the seas, including a line for stylish kids.
Christian Siriano (Season 4)
Christian Siriano is without a doubt the most successful former contestant from “Project Runway,” He was 21 when he first came on the reality show and impressed the judges with his creations. Siriano is now a celebrity designer. Siriano founded his label, Christian Siriano, after winning the competition and has continued to amaze the people at New York Fashion Week ever since 2008.
Christian started his first store in New York in 2012, and in 2013 he was accepted into the CFDA, which increases the power of designers. He was a judge on the Junior spin-off of the show, “Project Runway Junior,” and then he went on to take over Tim Gunn’s place as a mentor on “Project Runway” in season 17. Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Kim Kardashian, Michelle Obama, and Gigi Hadid are some of the celebrities who have worn his creations.
Leanne Marshall (Season 5)
Leanne Marshall won season five, defeating Korto Momolu. After winning, she went to New York City, where she still lives, and created a pregnancy dress for the show’s host, Heidi Klum. She has established herself as a prominent presence in the fashion world thanks to her various participation at New York Fashion Week to present her newest collections.
Many famous people, like Julianne Hough, Ariana Grande, and Paula Abdul, have worn her creations. Additionally, in 2011, she introduced her now-famous bridal line, which can be found on her official website and in over 60 stores.
Irina Shabayeva (Season 6)
The armor-inspired clothes that Irina Shabayeva created for her last “Project Runway” showcase were undoubtedly a success. Shabayeva has been focusing on her namesake business since winning the sixth season of “Project Runway” and has presented at a lot of fashion weeks across the world.
In 2011, Irina released a bridal line exclusive to Kleinfeld, the famed New York bridal shop, which was seen on the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress.” She introduced her own line of outerwear, LUXE by Irina, in the same year. Shabayeva took part in the third season of “Project Runway: All Stars” in 2013 and got 6th place.
Additionally, then she went on to participate in the seventh season in 2019 and came in as the second runner-up. Celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez, Kelly Ripa, Madonna, and Kelly Clarkson have worn the designer’s creations.
Seth Aaron Henderson (Season 7)
Seth Henderson is the first designer to win both a regular season (Project Runway season 7) and a Project Runway All-Star (in season 3) competition. As part of his prize, he got to launch a QVC design line, which is still available on the internet today.
In addition to creating cloths from recycled materials and natural fibers. Recently, he worked with Feetz, a San Diego-based business that makes 3D-printed shoes. Their footwear line debuted at FashionNXTWeek and was featured in Henderson’s SS 2018 range.
Gretchen Jones (Season 8)
Some fans were disappointed when Gretchen Jones won the eighth season over the fan favorite Mondo Guerra. Jones is no longer involved in the design process. Jones came back to Brooklyn after her time on “Project Runway” to manage her women’s label, Gretchen Jones NYC.
Jones got to collaborate and work with companies, including Little Sister Creative, REI, Converse, and East Olivia, over the past ten years. In recent years, Jones’ career today has moved away from designing and went on to focus on consulting.
Anya Ayoung-Chee (Season 9)
Anya Ayoung-Chee’s win in the ninth season is a very dramatic story. She had only started sewing four months before the competition and had no finished designs when Gunn paid her a visit before the grand finale. Despite all of it, she fought and won the competition.
After winning “Project Runway Season 9,” Ayoung-Chee launched her own resort-wear clothing brand. Anya runs a coworking space, a retail store, and a coffee house in Trinidad and Tobago. She made an appearance as a mentor on the 2014 “Project Runway” spin-off show “Under the Gunn.”
Anya participated in “Project Runway: All Stars Season 7” in 2019 and came in 10th. She introduced a new range of clothing for women in 2020 at the Museum of Sex, and she is still creating new collections.
Dmitry Sholokhov (Season 10)
Dmitry Sholokhov struggled to make ends meet during the 10th Season of Project Runway in 2012 after losing his apartment and being forced to quit his work. After winning season 10, he said that he was basically homeless for all the time he was on the show. Following his win, Sholokhov launched a limited-edition line for Lord & Taylor before revealing his own Spring 2014 design line.
After winning his season of the OG show, Sholokhov came back for the Project Runway All Stars Season 4 in 2014 and won, earning his second victory on the Project Runway stage. He participated once more after that victory, trying to win a third title. However, he was unsuccessful in 2019’s Project Runway All Stars season 7. Nevertheless, 2019 wasn’t full of bad news. Later on in the same year, Sholokhov and Sue Wong shared the Fashion Designer of the Year award at Metropolitan Fashion Week.
Michelle Lesniak (Season 11)
Michelle Lesniak was crowned the season 11 winner after almost being removed from the show earlier. After winning the 11th season and appearing briefly in the fourth season of “Project Runway: All Stars,” Lesniak went back to her native place in Portland, and she is now working on designs for her own store in Portland. In 2019, Lesniak participated in season seven of “Project Runway: All Stars” and was victorious. She continues to create clothing and accessories.
Dom Streater (Season 12)
Dom Streater easily won Season 12 of the show by dominating the entire season with her graphic prints. Nowadays, Streater designs scarves, jackets, and T-shirts. After winning the 12th season of the OG show, she went on to win Season 5 of “Project Runway: All Stars.”
According to an interview, Streater looks at herself as a slow-fashion designer and is living and working in Philadelphia. In addition to abstract paintings, her label sells limited-edition scarves, T-shirts, and coats.
Sean Kelly (Season 13)
Sean Kelly won the competition in season 13 after surprising everyone with a dress that changed color while it was raining on the runway, turning it from white to a variety of colors. Kelly continues to live in New York and works as a designer for the upscale swimwear company Hercules. The designer got 6th on the “Project Runway: All Stars” Season 7.
Ashley Nell Tipton (Season 14)
Ashley Nell Tipton made a name for herself on “Project Runway” by working with plus-size models and designing beautiful outfits. Tipton has kept up her creative work and has collaborated with a number of prestigious companies. Tipton earned a deal with JCPenney after winning “Project Runway” to design and represent their plus-size shop.
Additionally, she created her own clothing line and eyewear brand in addition to designing for Simplicity. Tipton made the decision to retire designing in 2020 and shared it on her YouTube channel. Instead, she has been uploading new episodes for her YouTube Channel series, “Love ‘YOU’ Show.” Tipton went on to win the emerging designer prize at the 2021 Fashion Week in San Diego.
Erin Robertson (Season 15)
Erin Robertson won “Project Runway” season 15 with her banana-print outfits and silver coats. Robertson’s creations have been featured in a number of magazines. After winning Season 15, Robertson was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of ATVS. Her designs have appeared in magazines such as Nylon, Marie Claire, Forbes, and Elite Daily.
In 2018, Robertson teamed with Starbursts to develop “The Pink Starburst Collection,” where she partnered with Jifei Ou at MIT’s Media Lab to create products with 3D-printed fur. She teamed up with MIT once more in 2020 to judge creative face mask and personal protective equipment (PPE) ideas as part of the university’s Pandemic Response CoLab. She still designs and participates in design-related shows and works with her clothing business An-Erin.
Kentaro Kameyama (Season 16)
Kentaro Kameyama was crowned the winner of season 16, and since then, he has been working very hard. Kameyama has already put on a lot of successful runway performances since his Season 16 win. His ready-to-wear designs are for sale on his official website, and he has already displayed collections at the Paris, LA, and New York Fashion Weeks.
In addition, he is a professor at The Fashion School of LA. Kameyama displayed new designs during LA Fashion Week in 2021. He has a background in classical music as a pianist and composer.
Jhoan “Sebastian” Grey (Season 17)
Jhoan “Sebastian” Grey just moved the judges with his rich style on the Seventeenth Season of “Project Runway.” After Grey won the competition in 2020, he got to present his designs during New York Fashion Week. He continues to create designs for his own clothing line.
Geoffrey Mac (Season 18)
It’s hardly surprising that Geoffrey Mac won the top prize because he was a season 18 Fan favorite. Mac recently won “Project Runway” in 2020. Thus, he hasn’t done much yet. Mac was already quite successful before appearing on the show and taking home the prize in 2020.
Celebrities including Madonna, Bjork, Brooke Candy, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Icona Pop, and Kesha have all worn his creations. The fall/winter 2021 line of his clothing label is “a recreation of the 90s clubbing kid scene.” And the name of his most recent design line is called “Odyssey.”
Shantall Lacayo (Season 19)
The Nicaraguan designer already had experience in the fashion industry before taking part in the Bravo competition. Shantall Lacayo founded her company, Shantall, in 2010, with the goal of ” increasing interest in the beauty and heritage of Latin American artists.” She won the grand prize during the first all-female “Project Runway” finale.
Lacayo continues to design clothing under her famous brand. Following her win, Lacayo has made many notable magazine appearances, including Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Argentina, and Vogue Latin America. She went on to launch her spring/summer 2023 design line at New York Fashion Week.