Project Runway Season 15 winner Erin Robertson has barely had time to catch her breath since taking home the design competition’s top prize in December’s finale, a feat the former dental assistant achieved just months after finishing up a dual degree program at MassArt. “I haven’t stopped,” Robertson says. “I was a pretty intense college student. … It’s just transitioned into a different kind of nonstop.” She’s working on an “overwhelming” number of commissions—some taking the Central Square resident as far as Zurich to make deliveries—as well as a textile design project with painter and fellow MassArt alum Jordan Piantedosi, who gave Robertson a hand with her finale collection. The latest inspiration? “I just want pink everything,” Robertson says. “I think it’s going into and touching base on female power and that whole movement.”

For now, Robertson is keeping her own personal schedule, eschewing the fashion calendar to focus on starting a business and creating a brand identity. She plans to continue collaborating with friends from MassArt and explore new connections at MIT, perhaps as a sustainable textile technology student or a participant in the Media Lab. “That’s one of the reasons why I love Massachusetts and Cambridge,” she says. “There’s just innovation, and people are working on such cool projects.” Regardless of what comes next, Robertson trusts her intuition to guide her toward the right move—a lesson she took from her time on the show. “We don’t have contact with the outside world, so there’s a lot of reflection that you do,” Robertson explains. “I learned how to really think about listening to my gut brain rather than my brain brain. The gut brain is so important, and you need to listen to that.”

Sew What?

Boston may get flack for being an unfashionable city, but the area boasts quite a roster of recent Project Runway talents. Here’s what they’ve been up to since filming wrapped—and where they see fashion heading this spring.

Kelly Dempsey

Kelly Dempsey

The Season 14 runner-up, and our 2016 pick for Boston’s Best Rising Star, has been living in Boston and working on her Rack Addik brand, which showed at New York Fashion Week in February.

Favorite Project Runway moment: “The turning point with the judges when they finally understood who I was as a designer and got it. I know my aesthetic is not cookie-cutter, and I was not afraid to be myself.”

Spring trend forecast: “Denim, denim, denim!”


Sandhya Garg

Since appearing on Season 13, the India-born designer has moved from Birmingham, Alabama, to Boston, working on collections out of Somerville’s Joy Street Studios and teaching fashion illustration and drawing at MassArt.

Teachable moments: “We have monthly master classes at my studio. We do shibori dyeing with indigo, wooden block printing, one-on-one sewing sessions and illustration sessions.”

Spring trend forecast: “Prints and colors are getting bolder and brighter this spring.”


Photo: Athel Rogers

Nathalia JMag

The Framingham resident spent February showing new looks, some alongside fellow Season 15 contestant Cornelius Ortiz, as well as participating in RAW Artists Boston and Metrowest’s Art au Pair.

Next project: “I’m working on a menswear collection that I will be debuting at a fashion show on March 25 at the beautiful Bull Mansion in Worcester.”

Spring trend forecast: “Tons of color and feminine silhouettes, as well as embroidered flowers and lace appliqués.”


Cornelius Ortiz

The Boston native has kept up momentum since earning a Tim Gunn save during
Season 15, producing a fall/winter 2017 collection with shiny and matte fabrics that transformed with flashing lights.

Best episode: “The mother episode was my favorite. To have my mother there was awesome.”

Spring trend forecast: “The use of trims in different vibrant colors and the use of A-line silhouettes.”

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