Project Runway is back on Bravo from Thursday, March 14th, and the competition is as fierce as ever.

Karlie Kloss is season 17’s newest host with Christian Siriano this season’s latest mentor.

Of course, also hitting the design floor will be 16 new contestants, battling it out with sewing kits and stencils to become the USA’s latest hot-shot industry designer.

Meet the Project Runway season 17 contestants!

Project Runway Season 17 Contestants: Afa Ah Loo

Afa Ah Loo took up sewing in high school after almost burning down the kitchen while taking home economics. Technically, the 32-year-old has been an ‘official’ designer for five years.

Over the past year, Afa launched a look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. The piece he designed was an ode to his Samoan roots and was even on display at Buckingham Palace.

To see more of his designs follow him on Instagram, @afa.ahloo.

Rakan Shams Aldeen

Rakan Shams Aldeen is a Syrian designer who has known his love for fashion since the age of five.

Despite his passion was for fashion, he studied in architecture and design.

Once the civil war broke out in Syria, the 29-year-old moved to Lebanon and went to school to study fashion design and pattern making.

In 2017, Rakan moved out to Chicago and established his line, Rakan – ‘for confident women who want to be unique’.

Follow him and learn more about his brand on Instagram, @rakanshamsaldeen.

Cavanagh Baker

Cavanagh Baker’s love for fashion started at the age of 12 when she used to raid her mom’s closet for vintage clothes.

The 26-year-old created her brand, Cavanagh Bake, when she was still studying at Savannah College of Art and Design.

She has had celebrities like Heidi Klum, Lucy Hale, Miranda Lambert and others wear her designs.

You can follow her personal Instagram where she is continuously modelling her designs at @cavanaghstowe.

Tessa Clark

Tessa’s love of fashion started growing from her mom at a young age and by the time she was in middle school she was collecting fashion magazines.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design from the University of Cincinnati.

She created her line, Grind and Glaze, as it was influenced by the people in her life.

To follow and learn more about Grind and Glaze go to her Instagram – @grindandglaze.

Bishme Cromartie

Bishme started to learn how to sew when he was nine years old.

At 16 years old, Bishme entered his very first solo fashion show.

The Maryland native now designs for celebrities like Andra Day, Mel B and Niecy Nash.

To take a look at Bishme’s designs and get to know him as a person, follow his Instagram, at @bishme_cromartie.

Venny Etienne

The New York native started his fashion adventure by styling for local fashion shows when he was 20 years old.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Merchandising and Design from Wade College in Dallas, Texas. He also won the Founders Award, the highest accolade that can be given to any student.

Though he has a degree in merchandising and design, he credits most of his knowledge from designer Shingo Sato.

Venny has dressed a lot of A-list celebrities like Cardi B and Michelle Williams.

Follow him on Instagram, @vennyetienne.

Jhoan “Sebastian” Grey

With ten years of experience, Sebastian Grey has worked with designers such as Lina Cantillo and Andrews Otalora.

While working in his family leather business, Sebastian learned how to keep an eye out for detail. He majored in Fashion Design at the Academy of Professional Drawing in Cali, Colombia.

His work has been seen all over Colombia where he has owned and operated stores under his brand.

Check out his Instagram – @iamsebastiangrey – to view his work.

Renee Hill

Renee didn’t realize her love for fashion until after she raised nine children and had gone through a divorce following a 20-year marriage.

She attended Moor College of Art Design and then Made Institute. Renee studied pattern making and tailoring.

Though she has been a fashion designer for five years, it wasn’t until three years ago when she launched her brand.

Check out her Instagram to take a look at her collection at @harx4.

Kovid Kapoor

Kovid Kapoor is born in the Indian Himalayan valley town of Dehradun where he moved around a lot because his family was in the military.

He attended the National Institute of Fashion Technology and received his BFA in Fashion Design. Kovid then attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to earn his MFA in Fashion Design.

When coming to America, he didn’t realize that fashion in America was so different to India.

Check him out at @kovid.kpr.

Sonia Kasparian

Sonia graduated as Designer of the Year with a BFA in fashion design from Otis/Parsons in Los Angeles.

She planned to work as a designer and make money from the corporate world.

For thirty-three years, Sonia worked at Nike and designed NBA apparel. She also helped to create Team USA Olympic apparel for the men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams.

Nowadays, Sonia creates personally bespoke couture and bridal pieces to each clientele instead of corporations.

Check out her Instagram under @soniakasparian_urchin.

Frankie Lewis

Frankie Lewis used to make costumes for her local theatre in Louisville, Kentucky.

She didn’t learn how to sew until she was in college.

Frankie had a former line called Ann DeEvelyn and now has her new upcoming line, Frankie Lew.

With her new line, she includes fashion for all types of women where she makes sexy, chic pieces.

Check out her designs on Instagram, @frankiee_leww.

Lela Orr

Lela first became interested in fashion thanks to the international Vogue magazines.

She graduated from Parsons School of Design. After graduating, she started her career as a designer.

For the past three years, she has owned her brand, Ferrah, which was founded on the premise of an eco-luxury brand that is cruelty-free with zero waste.

Follow Lela at @lelachristiana.

Jamall Osterholm

Jamall graduated from Rhode Island School of Design.

He has focused on futuristic pieces that have influences from the past.

Collaborating with CFDA, Jamall opened the Spring 2019 NYFW in September with his third collection.

Head over to his Instagram – @jamallosterholm – to take a peek at his collection.

Nadine Ralliford

Nadine attended FIT in New York and FIDM in Los Angeles. However, she received her Bachelor of Arts from AIU and another degree from MIT.

Her mother wanted her to have a good understanding of other cultures, so she sent her travelling through Asia and Europe.

Nadine currently teaches students about fashion alongside her brand, Ralliford Hall Designs.

Check out her line on Instagram at @rallifordhall.

Gary “Garo Sparo” Spampinato

Garo designs mostly corsetry, couture and made-to-order bridal pieces.

He designs costumes for performers as well as commercial and films that require special effects.

Take a look at his fashion designs on his Instagram, @garosparo.

Hester Sunshine

Hester used to not only dress herself as a child but also sew clothes with a children’s safety needle for her dolls. She used to sell the doll clothes design to her classmates!

By the time she was in the sixth grade, she had started using a sewing machine.

Hester started Parsons School of Design while also attending Eugene Lang College. However, she was kicked out of Parsons during her junior year.

She finished her degree at Central Saint Martins in London then returned for her double major and finished strong at Eugene Lang.

She considers her style as “clown couture.”

Follow Hester on Instagram under @besta_hesta.


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