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Project Runway finalist judges Threads Fashion Show

Detroit native, Season 13 finalist on "Project Runway" Char Glover was the guest judge at Threads Fashion Show on Saturday.

Clad in a red beanie, sequin skirt, lace-up black sandals, reconstructed bold red trench coat and t-shirt with her fashion label's slogan "Never met a girl like me," Glover talked about her career as a fashion designer with Central Michigan Life.

Threads Fashion Show is an annual student-run production by Central Michigan University students in the fashion merchandising and design program. The designs of 32 students were worn on the runway on Saturday by student models. As a guest judge, Glover chose which designs earned the award of "Best in show."

How was your experience on the fashion design reality show "Project Runway?"

GLOVER: It was challenging and rewarding. It was a personal journey for me.

I think designers need to be pushed outside of their comfort zone. As a designer, I think that's the best platform you can be on.

Where are you now in your fashion design career?

I have a brand called RocknRemix. I have an online boutique and I travel and do pop-up shops in different states.

I'm based in Los Angeles, I moved there from Detroit in December.

Can you describe your personal style?

Right now I'm really into hats, beanies, the black hats with the large rims. I'm into comfort, but still being stylish. As long as I'm comfortable I'm good.

Can you give any advice to students hoping to make it in the fashion business?

I think you definitely have to define your sense of style and know what your aesthetic is. Are you going to be a designer who makes soft delicate pieces or are you going to make edgy designs? You really need to figure out what kind of designer you want to be. That's first and foremost. That way you'll know what kind of audience to target.

You are really active on social media, is that important as a designer?

Yes, because you're not just selling your product to your followers, you're connecting with them. They kind of get to know you on a personal level, and you can show you have a sense of humor. To me it just solidifies your brand because people can put a face to you and get a feeling of the brand you represent.

How much did you work with CMU designers in Threads?

I did one-on-one consultations with some of them, so I was able to see their portfolio. Yesterday I sat in on rehearsals, so I got a little sneak peak of the show.

What do you think of the designs students came up with?

They worked really hard, so it's great to see the work pay off. So much preparation has gone into the show. It's nice to see everything come together.

Do you have to live in a big city to make it as a fashion designer?

I think to get started you don't, but to get to the next level you do. That's the truth.

Even if you just go for a short stay, I think you have to go (to places like Los Angeles and New York city) for resources. They have a larger fashion district, they are catered to a designer.

In Detroit — I can only speak for metro Detroit — there are only two fabric stores, so that lets you know the market that is there for designers. In L.A. there are about 1,000 stores within a four block radius, so those are polar opposites.

What message are you trying to get across with your fashion label, RocknRemix?

My clothes are full of the woman that wants to to make a statement. They don't want to look like everybody else They want to be an individual. When I first started, my (designs) was so weird and different but now it's like a classic piece that just has an edge to it.

Is your personality present in your clothing design?

I think so. It's a personal style and I think I incorporate that in my clothes. I think you can't have RocknRemix without so much of me in it. That's what makes it successful.

Why did you choose the name 'RocknRemix' for your clothing label?

I wanted to say something rebellious. I feel like it really embodies who I am as a designer. On top of that I do a lot of reconstruction with vintage pieces, so I 'remix.' 

You were judged on "Project Runway" and now you're a judge for Threads Fashion Show. How does it feel to be on the other side of things?

To be able to say, 'No you listen,' it definitely feels good to be on the other side.

(The students I've worked with) were open to listening. They had good input and they were excited. A lot of them are graduating next month. They're curious and want some insight, so it felt really good to be able to give advice to them. 

What is one of the most important things you have learned as a designer?

One of the things I learned early on in my career was to have thick skin. You have to. 

Somebody might look at my outfit and be like, 'That's too much red,' but I have to be OK with that. I have to say this is my moment and how I feel. As a designer you have to have thick skin and own your designs — your aesthetic.

Own who you are and stick by it. 

One of the things you have to remember is that your voice needs to be heard because it hasn't been done yet if you haven't done it. There is room for you, there is a space for you. The fashion industry is oversaturated, it's a really popular field to go into, but at the same time nobody has seen your take on a summer dress, nobody has seen your take on a pair of pants or whatever it is. Your voice needs to be heard and there's a space for you

What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?

Honestly, this is so vain, but being able to dress (however I want). Me being a fashion designer gives me permission to wear this sequin skirt with a beanie, a trench jacket — this is a dress I turned into a jacket — so being a fashion designer gives me permission to dress this way and nobody can say anything.

That's one of the perks.

Do you make most of the clothes you where?

I do. This is a t-shirt from my line. Something I have on is always something from my collection. 

How did you get to the point where you are now?

Confidence. Faith. Feeling like being a fashion designer is my purpose and following my purpose. Following that and not asking for permission. If there is something I want to do I'm doing it.

I think people realize it but I don't know if they really let the fact soak in that we only get one chance (at life). Everybody is waiting, and what are they waiting for? If there is something they want to do then they need to go do it. Go for it.

What is the best way to get into the fashion industry?

There is no easy way. You have to do the work. You have to sustain, a lot of people want to do stuff but their commitment is limited to convenience. 

I don't care how tough it is, if there is something you want to do then you just have to keep pushing past (obstacles). Nobody is going to open the door for you. Nobody is going to say, 'Oh you want to be a designer, come this way.' People are going to tell you your clothes are ugly and that you aren't going to make it, there are so many obstacles. But if it's something you really want to do, you have to push past that.

What's your day-to-day style?

I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. If it was up to me I would have on some tight jeans — I'm obsessed with tight jeans — some comfy shoes, a t-shirt, a red lip and some glasses. That would be my outfit of the day. I don't care if my hair is whipped up or a mess, I'm going to throw on a red lip. To me that's uniform.


About Kate Carlson

Editor-in-Chief Kate Carlson is a senior from Lapeer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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