ESSENCE.com: What inspired you to be on Project Runway?
DOM STREATER: I have always loved watching Project Runway. I have been a fan of the show since I was 12-years-old. So for me, the idea of being on it was a dream! I didn't want to apply at first because I am actually a very private person, but my best friend urged me to apply for the longest time so I just went ahead and gave in.
ESSENCE.com: What does it mean to you to be the first African American designer to win Project Runway?
STREATER: It is an incredible honor for me to be the first. I love that I am able to set that example for other young designers of color who maybe believe that they cannot make it in fashion.
ESSENCE.com: Where do you see yourself in the future?
STREATER: I have plans to grow my label and hopefully turn it into a well-known name in fashion. I want to grow the brand into a global business and be able to have women all over the world wearing my designs. So soon hopefully, after some growth, I will have a store to sell my collections in!
ESSENCE.com: How does your past experiences and where you're from effect your design point of view?
STREATER: I was born and raised in West Philadelphia (cue fresh prince theme song) and that factors in greatly to how I design. When you live in a busy city that is sometimes very tough and rough, you sometimes have to sacrifice style for comfort. As a designer I make it my duty to try and bridge that gap and design fashion forward and exuberant clothing that actual real women can wear.
ESSENCE.com: In what ways specifically did you grow as a designer from episode one to the finale?
STREATER: I learned a huge amount about myself in those six weeks than I did in the three years that I have been out of college. I learned a lot about how I design, what I like and my process. Being on Project Runway has taught me invaluable things that some