How Fashion During COVID became A New Creative Venture
Who can forget that personality that made 3rd person and 1st person winner. Suede was a unique winner— he took his love of fabrics and made a successful business out of selling the fabrics and being part of finding new fashion talent internationally.
We sat and spoke about the state of fashion now.
C: We were supposed to “catch up” during New York Fashion Week, but, like everything else, we make plans and God has better ones.” At least we get to catch up on Zoom with your favorite brunch— bagels and lox.
S: I miss New York, especially the food, but I live by a motto that worked for me on reality tv that works for me now. Honestly, the fashion business is not in a good place now and I can’t be sure it is where I want to be now. Retail, social media and international travel within fashion will never be the same. We probably won’t have a February show in New York and who knows when and where fashion will be back to what we think is normal.
C: Tell more, because you reinvented yourself with another creative venture.
S: I moved back to Ohio to care for my mother, who many remember from the Runway days as my muse, mentor, my everything to take care of her in her last days. I had to work and suddenly I was getting involved in real estate.
The biggest life change Project Runway brought to me was being a recognized name and personality. Many years after appearing on the show people still recognize me, and it has parlayed quite well into my new career in Real Estate with the internationally known Keller Williams. I bring kindness, style, color, fashion, fun and love to all my clients. Buying a home is pressure enough, clients don’t need it from their agent as well. As I negotiated many of my own contracts under the SUEDEsays™ brand which laid strong groundwork for the next steps in my life. Thus the SUEDEsays™ Properties business was born. Instead of a dress or jacket, I help fashion your couches and kitchens. Fabrics come in every room, and people like that “one of a kind” home, just like a haute couture evening dress.
C: What do you think came from the Project Runway Experience?
S: It was a complete whirl wind. I recall very clearly the first night of the show going out to a bar that was airing the show with host Cazwell – Musician/Artist at NYC’s Posh Nightclub. I was not allowed to tell anyone I was on the show so when it started airing and people would look at screen then at me, then back at screen – well let’s just say it started that first day of airing and snowballed. By the next airing I won the challenge with guest judge Natalie Portman and life changed. I had to allow several hours just to get around NYC as I stood out and people recognized me at every turn. I always took time to speak with fans and hoped to make their day brighter and happier. Following Project Runway, Suede launched a company called, SUEDEsays™. SUEDEsays™ came partially from my penchant of throwing out third person comments. The logo has two cents combined on the branding which signifies ‘Suede putting in his two cents’ on the topic. SUEDEsays™ was born.
I can honestly say it has opened the doors to meeting so many amazing people. Professionally I wouldn’t say the fashion industry really embraced Project Runway or the Stars that came from it. I do want to clarify that EVERY designer who makes it onto that show is full of talent (whether I like them or not) I have respect for what we all went through. I’m blessed to call Leanne Marshall, Winner of Season 5 of Project Runway, as my dearest friend and confidant – that’s worth everything in my book! We both won!!
C: How did you get the name Suede?
S: I was the only guy in a class of about 16 designers. We were fully stressed out over a project and as always I decided to break the tension and bring levity to all. I encouraged all the designers to gather ’round the giant swatch barrel. I asked everyone to pick a fabric and we had to be that fabric for the day. I picked Suede and most of my college classmates called me ‘Suede’ from then on.
Suede can be reached through his Instagram: @SUEDEsays