'Project Runway' Q&A: Joshua McKinley

In Style

Seven Project Runway stars will gather in St. Louis for Saint Louis Fashion Week on September 28. Meet Joshua McKinley, who will show his collection in the show at Fox Theater.

Joshua McKinley Cook
Season 9 & “Project Runway All Stars” Season 2

Age: 27
Current Location: New York City
Website: Follow @jmckinleynyc on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news while joshuamckinley.com gets a face-lift.

Joshua Mckinley

Your “Project Runway” experience in 75 words or less. My experience was magical! I have felt like Dorothy Gale living in a black and white world until I was caught in an unanticipated tornado, only to come out slaying wicked witches, stealing the most beautiful ruby red slippers and meeting the most intriguing and inspiring people along a brick road. I am truly humbled to have been given the opportunity to share my passion with the world and surround myself with creative, awe-inspiring individuals.

Where has your career gone since “Project Runway?” It’s been a brilliant roller-coaster ride thus far, and I’ve merely just buckled myself in! I have been fortunate enough to start traveling around the country to places I would have never thought to explore while discussing and sharing my vision on design with people thirsty to learn more. My signature menswear pieces divorce their hangers quicker than Elizabeth Taylor does her husbands, and I just launched my first capsule women’s wear cocktail and evening collection for Johnathan Kayne under the label Johnathan Kayne by Joshua McKinley.

Describe your design aesthetic. It’s all about experimenting with classic cuts in innovative high-tech fabrics while infamously being known for a “more is better” aesthetic.

What makes your style stand out from the rest? I have honed a style that has the ability to be audible without conversation.

What/who inspires you? Travel and thrifting!

What are you working on currently? Johnathan Kayne by Joshua McKinley just wrapped up its first trade show in Atlanta, and the response has been phenomenal. It will hit stores across the country at the beginning of next year.

Where is your line headed next? To a store near you!

When you hit a creative block, what do you do to get the juices flowing? I find it best to work through a creative block because it’s the progress and momentum that help to get me back on track or find my way. Sitting idle is never the solution; it’s all about forward motion.

Your favorite look for going out. It depends. As I always say, “The look should be tailored to the locale.” If it’s a champagne kind of night, don’t look homeless. And if it’s a beer with the boys kind of night, look flawless.

Your favorite look for staying in. If I could answer this question, we would certainly have a problem on our hands. Who has the time to stay in when the closet is full of fashion beyond imagination and the world is at our fingertips to explore?  I’ve spent enough time in the closet. I won’t subject my clothing to that.

Fashion trend you’re sick of. I think all trends serve a purpose and are normally around shorter than the shelf life of a loaf of bread. However, having just been in Miami for a few days, I noticed an excess of “kitty cat” apparel on dresses, t-shirts, hats, basically any article of cheap clothing you can think of. It just confuses me as to why we think it’s fashionable to have a pussy cat on our chests.

Whose fall lines do you find most exciting? Michael Kors’ Resort 2014 collection, with his use of prints and the brilliant lucite chokers and cuffs with locks. They are to-die-for fabulous!

The one accessory every woman needs right now. Confidence and a great pair of heels.

The one accessory every man needs right now. Confidence and a great fitting suit jacket.

Give us your trend forecast for 2014. I’m not a trend forecaster, I’m a trendsetter. There is a ton of propaganda that surrounds trends and is normally backed by companies relying on the ignorance of the public to buy into them; however, anyone can buy into a trend. It takes intelligence to understand that you can’t buy style. So take a stand, exist unique and BE a trendsetter.

What do you do when you’re not designing? Sleep and socialize.

What’s in your fridge right now? Diet Coke, sugar-free Red Bull and a venti iced vanilla Americano from Starbucks (my 3rd of the day!), usually saved for those late work hours of the night, when I’m craving coffee.

What books are on your nightstand? None! I don’t like clutter, and I can think of a 100 other things more entertaining than reading in bed. Let’s all put down “50 Shades of Grey,” let down our hair and quit living through the pages of a novel. Life is all about making things happen and going after what you want in life. It’s fabulous to be a dreamer, but it’s so much more fulfilling to be a doer.

Your favorite piece in your closet right now. How does one choose their “favorite” piece when there are so many fabulous things to choose from? I will say that anything that has a bit of sparkle takes precedence in the line-up of favorites.

What are you looking forward to most about your time in St. Louis? Having traveled all over the United States to many different fashion weeks, I’m excited to see the creative genius that St. Louis has to offer.  Two St. Louis natives and fashion powerhouse designers, Laura Kathleen and Michael Drummond, are leading the way to build a unique perspective for design in St. Louis, and I’m excited to see what other designers are doing to give a voice to this burgeoning market.

With technology today, design is something that can be tangible from practically every corner of the globe, which helps to narrow the intervals between the cities that we consider “fashion capitals.”  Design is all about having the courage and conviction in what you do, and that will ultimately bring you to a state of victory.

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