When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I have always had a love for art, fashion and creativity. As a kid, I was continuously drawing and doing crafts with mixed media, and my grandma taught me how to sew when I was young. I went to fashion camp when I was 8 and there I learned all about the fashion industry, like sketching, unconventional designing and modeling basics. Then, my freshman year of high school I enrolled in a Fashion Design Class and my teacher was intrigued by my work. Halfway through the class she asked if I had ever thought about applying for Omaha Fashion Week and the next day I brought in numerous sketches of different designs. I couldn’t say that there was one moment that really told me that I was going to be a designer; instead many moments and passions throughout my life led me to the moment of auditioning to show my first collection! What has always intrigued me about fashion was the concept of thinking of an idea on paper and then creating an actual, wearable garment, which I learned how to do more concretely in high school.
Who or what inspired your work and why?
My work is inspired by the world around me: whether its traveling, people I see, or moments in my life I am always being inspired. My last collection was inspired by a trip I took to London a couple summer ago incorporating the juxtaposition of London gardens with city architecture. As a whole, my design aesthetic combines a mixture of hard and soft elements complementing inspiration from both the city and nature.
What was it like seeing your pieces displayed on such a huge platform like Project Runway Junior?
Being on Project Runway Junior alone is a dream come true; something that every designer dreams of; so seeing my designs displayed on the platform of Project Runway Junior felt amazing. There are honestly no words to describe the feeling of seeing your designs on Project Runway Junior because it is such an incredible outlet to showcase your designs to amazing mentors, judges, and the nation!
Have you grown as a designer after participating for the show? What has been the biggest thing you’ve learned?
I have definitely grown as a designer from being on Project Runway Junior. Throughout the process you learn how to formulate certain challenges around your personal design aesthetic, along with presenting your designs to a panel of judges, which is definitely an important skill in any industry. As cliché as this sounds, the biggest thing I’ve learned from being on Project Runway Junior is how to “make it work”, no matter what situation you’re thrown in to. You have to learn how to work with different people, create designs corresponding to lots of different themes while letting your true design style stand out, and complete garments in with minimal time frame; you really don’t get these unique experiences anywhere else. I have learned to expand my design boundaries and experiment with materials and styles I didn’t even think about incorporating before being on this show… it has truly opened up my eyes as a designer to all of the possibilities.
When did you decide to audition for the show? What was the most difficult part of the auditioning process?
After finding out about last season I decided I wanted to audition for Season 2 of Project Runway Junior and sent in my portfolio early this spring. The most difficult part of the audition process was all the waiting and secrecy. There are many rounds of auditioning just to get to the Semi-Finals, so the auditioning process requires lot of patience and persistence! Also you have to keep everything a secret, even during the audition process. During filming, family and friends were wondering where I was… I kept telling them “oh you know I’m just pretty busy”… it was funny but got tough at times! (Now I know what actors have to go through)!
What do you think sets your designs apart from other designers?
I have really developed my own design style that differentiates me from other designers. During my first couple of collections, I experimented with bohemian, vintage designs all the way to sporty, athleisure garments. Throughout that process I have developed a unique ready to wear design style consisting of a juxtaposition of edgy street wear elements combined with bohemian touches, especially prominent in the silhouette.
Do you think fashion week experiences helped you on project runway junior?
For sure! Going into Project Runway Junior I had lots of confidence in terms of models fittings and presenting collections in front of judges from participating in Fashion Weeks. The entire process of making a collection is very valuable experience for this competition.
What’s next for Molly?
I am a senior in high school, so I am working on applying to design schools. Right now I am starting work on my FW 17’ collection, which I hope to show this spring at Des Moines, Vancouver, and Los Angeles Fashion Week. I am also working on my website www.mollyeliabethdesigns.com, along with developing an online store including both merchandise and designs; there’s a lot in the works for my brand right now, including the development of a Molly Elizabeth YouTube channel.
What advice would you give to any aspiring designer?
Understand that fashion is subjective; one person might look at a design and love it while there will always be someone that hates it. You really have to understand that going into this profession because you will get a lot of no’s for that one yes; but that one yes could transform your career.
I’d love to see my designs worn by...
YouTuber and fashion guru, Amanda Steele and also singer and actress, Sabrina Carpenter.
My goal for my design career is...
to have a fashion empire. I dream of having Molly Elizabeth a household name; walking down the streets of Los Angeles and spotting people wearing my designs.
My Mantra is to...
"stay true to yourself!"
Make sure to tune into Project Runway Junior December 22nd 10/9c on Lifetime to see Molly compete for top designer!