Friends, I am thrilled to introduce you to the super-talented, yellow-wearing, fun-loving, Erin Robertson! Erin is the WINNER of Project Runway Season 15, and I am honored to have her as my latest “Celeb Sit Down” guest.
Throughout the season, Erin won the hearts of Project Runway’s fans (and judges!) with her bubbly personality and out-of-the-box designs. After speaking with Erin, I can attest to her genuine, upbeat spirit and creative enthusiasm.
One thing that distinguished Erin from the other contestants was her bold use of color and willingness to take risks. I asked Erin if she ever got nervous before facing the judges (Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen).
“I really respect the main three judges. I was never nervous! I love critique and positive feedback,” Erin said, adding that she doesn’t view anything as “negative” feedback. “It never scared me.”
Erin also spoke highly of Project Runway host and mentor Tim Gunn, who encouraged Erin to stay true to her personal style. “I think his role is to test you to make sure you’re being you. Not telling you who you are or who you aren’t, but making comments that make you think. “
More than once, Tim was concerned about Erin finishing her look in time for the runway show. However, Erin said that working under a time crunch is one of her strengths.
“I knew I had a good chance of winning because I know how I work under pressure,” Erin said. “I’m a positive procrastinator, so a lot of times I leave things until the last minute, and then I whip it out!
For Erin, the hardest part of the competition was working in a different environment without the collaborative influence of her friends from home.
“I talk to my friends everyday, and when I work in the studio, I always get their feedback,” Erin said. “I’m very community driven, so I had to create this new community with these people who I’m competing with. But I was really lucky. Honestly, I loved everyone.”
As part of the series finale, Erin and three other contestants presented a 10-piece collection at New York Fashion Week.
“There’s so much that goes on behind the camera,” Erin said. “We woke up at 2 a.m., and they started filming morning reality at 3.” After hours of prepping models and rehearsing the show, the finalists presented their collections and collapsed backstage for a much-needed nap. “We woke back up, and they said they were going to announce the winner. We were all delirious! That’s the funny thing, and no one knows it.”
And that’s when Heidi Klum spoke the words Erin longed to hear: “Erin, you are the winner of Project Runway Season 15!”
Erin spent the evening celebrating with her parents, two best friends and other contestants from the show. She is currently in the process of receiving the Project Runway prize package, which she plans to use to purchase studio space and equipment.
Born and raised in Utah, Erin moved to Boston after high school and worked as a dental assistant before attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design to study fashion and fiber art.
“I did fashion when I was in high school,” Erin said. “I made my own prom dress and whatnot. Then I took a break because I didn’t think I could make money as a fashion designer. I wasn’t raised on the idea that you could go to art school and make money, or even that art school existed.”
In Boston, Erin worked in a dental research lab under Dr. Porsche, the woman who became her mentor. “I ended up assisting her in the lab for two years and doing all of these crazy of experiments,” Erin said. “I think that’s where I learned a lot of craft. I learned tenacity, that if you don’t do something right, you have to do it again. Failure is not an option.”
Erin’s design aesthetic can be described as playful and humorous, and she is a master at the art of unconventional materials. (One of my favorite pieces from the season was Erin’s dress made with meal worms and guitar pics. Amazing!)
“Part of my work is taking something and hiding what it’s original state is. I think [unconventional materials] are a challenge, but I like a challenge…” Erin said. “I find humor in that.”
Known for her signature yellow, Erin says that she has always been a fan of bold colors. “Even when I was a dental assistant, I would wear bubblegum pink scrubs when everyone else would wear black.” She often uses the banana motif, which Erin said was inspired from a cell phone case she got a few years ago.
“Do you still have that case?” I asked.
“I’m talking to you on it right now!” Erin replied.
One of my last questions to Erin was, “If you could be anything other than a fashion designer, what would you be?”
After careful consideration, Erin answered, “I don’t see myself as just a fashion designer. I don’t like to put myself in just one category. I want to be a bunch of stuff. That’s why I say I’m just a human!”
In the future, Erin plans to find a live-work space in Cambridge and continue studying sustainable textiles and innovating fabric development. You can keep up with Erin and her creative endeavors on Instagram at @an_erin, or visit her website, erinrobertsonart.com.