"Project Runway" alum Mychael Knight is debuting his first collection at NYFW this September and is a true testament to the potency of knowing what women want to wear. We all remember when the designer toned his quest for a woman finding herself (and that white opening maxi dress) at Bryant Park 5 years ago. This time, he is on his own and setting himself apart from the competition, because, he is Mychael Knight.
Read on to find out his journey along the way, and what can we expect to see from him.
ESSENCE.com: You are debuting in the matter of weeks… are you nervous?
Mychael Knight: No I’m not nervous, not nervous at all, I’m using my energy for being productive and I’m ready for people to see what I have in store. I’ve been working very hard. I have about 2/3 of the collection done. Now I’m just getting inspiration at all times of the day and adding and subtracting.
ESSENCE.com: What can we expect to see coming down the catwalk and what’s the inspiration behind the collection?
Mychael Knight: You will see something different. My collection is called the “Lost World.” Which is mainly due to my fascination with dinosaurs and the Jurassic era. I was watching History Channel or Discovery Channel and saw a dinosaur and was so inspired. The collection is not literal, it has those elements but is still very lighthearted, playful, with a few elements of extinction and distinction.
ESSENCE.com: How has your style as a designer evolved over the years?
Mychael Knight: I’m a lot more adventurous now. My vision has always been dressing the everyday woman whether it’s a mom or a model. But now having those same sensibilities but presenting it in a more new and fresh way. Now I’m a little bit more brave and wearable.
ESSENCE.com: We hear that you are also debuting your own shoes and bags – how did that come about?
Mychael Knight: On two different occasions the marriages were just organic. I had a meeting with Messeca to see if I could pull some of their super dope shoes and they asked me if I wanted to make my own. I have 5 designs and a color palette of 6. Which are going to be available next spring. And the bags happened the exact same way with Mel Boteri. I have 7 styles that are representative of the collection. I’ve never sketched bags before but I made it work. I’m all about expanding my brand and a collaboration is the best way to do it.
ESSENCE.com: Most importantly, where can we buy your collection and what are the price points?
Mychael Knight: I have a made to measure approach and I do a lot of things custom with my ready to wear. At the moment, I’m still working on getting placement in a retail presence, especially now that I have bags and shoes. But all will be available online at MychaelKnight.com in reasonable to higher price points. And I also think it's important to continue supporting Black designers – there are only a handful of us.