Project Runway Season 16: Where Are The Designers Now?

Image Credit: Lifetime Network

In the vibrant realm of fashion, where imagination dances with fabrics to tell stories, ‘Project Runway’ season 16 made its debut in August 2017, originally captivating audiences on Lifetime TV and now casting its spell on various streaming platforms. Under the seasoned guidance of mentor Tim Gunn and the discerning critiques of Heidi Klum, this season unfurled as a rich tapestry.

The designers embarked on unique journeys that would shape their destinies in unpredictable ways since the show.  The stories of their post-show escapades persist, intricately interwoven with the fabric of fashion, leaving an indelible mark on an arena that thrives on continual innovation and the tireless pursuit of the next iconic creation. Let’s now unravel the post-show narratives of these contestants.

Kentaro Kameyama Works at an Arts Academy Today

Kentaro Kameyama, the triumphant winner of season 16, has seamlessly interwoven his passions for fashion, music, and teaching into a rich post-show tapestry. As a classical pianist and composer, Kentaro’s artistic endeavors extend beyond the runway. He was invited to the Japan Food Expo at Hilton Studio City and has also showcased at New York Fashion Week.

His designs have resonated globally, earning him features in prestigious publications, including Vogue. Notably, he expanded his role as a Costume Designer for ‘Let’s Dream’ and made television appearances on ‘The Collective Fashion Show’ and ‘Creative World.’ Kentaro’s influence in the fashion realm is not confined to the runway; he produced a fashion show at the FCI Fashion School in Los Angeles, where he served as an instructor. Adding another layer to his diverse portfolio, Kentaro now works at Idyllwild Arts Academy as Fashion Department Chair.

Ayana Ife Now Owns a Bridal Collection Brand

Ayana Ife, a finalist from season 16 has established herself as a bridal innovator and sustainability advocate. Beyond her noteworthy appearance on the show, Ayana owns Ayana Ife Bride, a bridal collection brand. Her journey in academia saw her obtaining a master’s degree in Brand and Business Management from Politecnico di Milano, and she served as an Adjunct Professor at Middle Tennessee State University.

Ayana’s commitment to modest fashion is evident in her fully modest collection debuted at New York Fashion Week. Despite facing health challenges with leg surgeries in early 2023, Ayana remains resilient. She continues to make strides with Ayana Active, a sustainable sportswear brand set to debut in 2024. Notably, she has been featured in prominent magazines and was invited to Keystone Edition Business, celebrating women in business.

Brandon Kee is a Menswear Instructor Today

Brandon Kee, having ventured into his eponymous brand, navigates the worlds of fashion and education with finesse. His brand, showcased on an online platform, not only displays his artistic creations but also serves as a hub for his artwork. As a menswear instructor at FCI Fashion School, Brandon imparts his knowledge and passion for fashion to aspiring designers. Beyond the classroom, Brandon is recognized as a brand ambassador for L’Oréal and Coty, adding a layer of prestige to his post-show endeavors. Featured in SOMA magazine and appearing on ‘The Collective Fashion Show,’ Brandon Kee continues to carve a niche for himself in the fashion world, where his artistic vision and commitment to education converge seamlessly.

Margarita Alvarez Delves Into Podcasts and Sewing Classes

Margarita Alvarez, a fervent enthusiast of food, fitness, and fashion, has evolved into a designer specializing in activewear. Her journey since the show reflects a fusion of these passions, with a dedicated website showcasing her activewear designs. Beyond the fashion realm, Margarita has delved into discussions about fashion on podcasts and taken sewing classes, demonstrating her commitment to continuous learning.

Despite personal challenges, such as the passing of her grandfather in March 2023, Margarita remains resilient. Notably, she engages with the fashion community through her bridal collection and her involvement in discussions about fashion on various platforms. Margarita’s post-show endeavors showcase her determination to create functional and fashionable activewear while navigating the complexities of life.

Kenya Freeman is Thriving as a Designer Dedicated to Empowering Curvy Fashion

Kenya Freeman is now the creative force behind the Sylvia Mollie Ready to Wear line and has thrived as a designer dedicated to empowering curvy fashion. Her collaboration with Shein and design work for Mimaki USA highlight her versatility. Kenya’s commitment to inclusivity is evident as she presented her first-ever curvy girl fashion collection at Atlanta Fashion Week. Beyond the runway, Kenya is an advocate for empowerment, participating in the Mahogany Movement and the Good Fit Project, discussing ideas for curvy fashion. Ambassadors to Juki, Kenya Freeman’s post-show narrative is not only about designing but also about championing diversity, body positivity, and the empowerment of ideas within the fashion industry.

Michael Brambila Specializes in Queer Clothing

Michael Brambila, known for his opulent menswear designs, has embraced a mission of creating inclusive clothing for all. Specializing in queer clothing made for everyone, Michael’s portfolio spans from lingerie to harnesses, belts, and accessories. His commitment to diversity and breaking gender norms is reflected in his brand’s ethos.

As a designer who champions inclusivity, Michael continues to contribute to the fashion world’s evolving narrative. His creations extend beyond traditional boundaries, aiming to provide unique and expressive fashion choices for individuals of all backgrounds and identities. Michael Brambila’s journey unfolds as a celebration of diversity, creativity, and a commitment to making fashion accessible to everyone.

Batani-Khalfani is Now a Realtor and an Interior Designer

Batani-Khalfani, a true polymath, has ventured beyond the boundaries of fashion to create a diverse and impactful narrative since the show. As a fashion and interior designer, realtor, and now the driving force behind her clothing line, Batani-Khalfani Clothing, she exemplifies versatility. Previously serving as an executive project manager at Tomeekha Pitre Inc., Batani has added milestones to her journey with ad campaigns for prominent brands like Mercedes, Toyota, Trident, and Method.

Beyond her accomplishments in design and real estate, Batani is a beacon of inspiration for the youth. Her organization, W.E. L.E.A.D Youth, actively engages with young minds, fostering discussions on Leadership and Empowerment. Batani Khalfani’s ventures showcase not only her prowess in the creative and business realms but also her commitment to empowering the next generation.

Amy Bond is an Executive Producer Today

Amy Bond, the creative force behind Amy Bond Designs, has continued to shape the fashion landscape. Her innovative spirit led to the creation of the Bond Design Box in 2020, offering a curated experience of her designs. Amy’s dedication to her craft extends to educational endeavors, conducting workshops at Otis College and collaborating with other artists for prominent displays, including appearances at prestigious events like the Emmys.

Notably, Amy has taken on roles that expand her influence within the industry. As the executive producer at Penguin Monkey Productions since 2020 and the project developer and educator at Otis College of Art and Design since 2013, Amy has seamlessly blended her creative vision with educational and production leadership, making her a dynamic force shaping the future of fashion and design.

Claire and Shawn Buitendorp Has Expanded Their Clothing Line

Claire and Shawn Buitendorp, the identical twin sisters who faced controversy during ‘Project Runway,’ have channeled their unique synergy into a flourishing creative venture. As founders of Shock and Awww, a custom stagewear company and clothing line, they have evolved beyond the show’s challenges. Featured in Teen Vogue and other prestigious publications, their designs have gained recognition on a global scale, including endorsement by Katy Perry.

In their pursuits, Shawn has served as a Freelance Seamstress at Lansing Community College and a Dresser at Wharton Center for Performing Arts since 2013. On the other hand, Claire is a Dresser for IATSE Local 274, leveraging her expertise and previously working as a freelance design consultant for Betsey Johnson. Despite personal challenges, such as the loss of their grandfather in June 2023, Claire and Shawn continue to make strides, showcasing resilience and creativity in their dynamic journey after the show.

Samantha Rei is a Content Creator Today

Samantha Rei has translated her ‘Project Runway’ success into a multifaceted creative career. As the owner of her eponymous brand and a content creator on her YouTube channel, Cinematteire, she explores looks and costumes from movies and TV series. Additionally, Samantha has ventured into the beauty industry, introducing a makeup product range under her name.

Beyond her creative endeavors, Samantha is actively involved in philanthropy, contributing to organizations like The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund and the National Network of Abortion Funds. Her expanded family, marked by the welcoming of a son in November 2023, adds a personal touch to her post-‘Project Runway’ narrative. Samantha Rei stands as a testament to the boundless possibilities that creativity and compassion can bring to the fashion and beauty industries.

Aaron Myers has Launched His Brand

Aaron Myers, the creative force behind Queerly Made, has transitioned into a leadership role in the design industry. Formerly the design manager at Bed Bath & Beyond, Aaron’s influence extends beyond his brand. His experience as a freelancer for renowned design companies such as Intentionally Blank, Rebecca Taylor and Marshall Columbia showcases his versatility and expertise.

Aaron’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity is reflected in his brand Queerly Made, contributing to the evolving landscape of fashion. As a leader and innovator, Aaron Myers continues to shape the industry, leaving an indelible mark on design and advocating for more inclusive representation within the creative sphere.

Deyonte Weather is Now a Notable Fashion Designer

Deyonte Weather has transformed his journey from being a former barista to a notable fashion designer. The emergence of the Deyonte Weather Collection (DWC) attests to his dedication to the world of fashion, where he has brought his unique vision to life. Before making waves in the fashion industry, Deyonte contributed his skills as a CAE Engineer for Comcast, showcasing the breadth of his talents.

Since venturing into the realm of fashion design, he has showcased numerous collections that have caught the attention of industry giants. His collaborations with major entities like AT&T and HBO highlight the versatility of his designs, extending beyond traditional boundaries. One of the pinnacle moments in his career was dressing the vocal supergroup Säje for the 2021 Grammys. As the husband to Tish Weather and a proud father to Ezra and Enzo, his personal life weaves seamlessly into his creative pursuits.

Kudzanai Karidza Has Made His Impact In Famous Music Videos

Kudzanai “Sirgarde” Karidza, despite an early exit from the spotlight of competitive fashion, has crafted a compelling narrative in the industry. Under his brand, GardedNvelope, he showcased collections at Bloomingdales, leaving an indelible mark on the retail landscape. His participation in major fashion weeks, including Atlanta and New York, attests to his resilience and determination to thrive beyond the confines of a competition.

Notably, Sirgarde’s creative influence extends beyond the runway. Collaborating with Musiq Soul Child and Hitboy for the “Victims & Villains” music video underscores his versatility, while his role in costume designing for the “Donda” music video showcases his ability to make impactful contributions to the music industry. Despite personal challenges, including the loss of his dog in 2020 and his mother in 2022, Sirgarde has found joy in marriage and parenthood, building a narrative that intertwines personal resilience, professional accomplishments, and a commitment to artistic collaboration.

Sentell McDonald Keeps His Life Private

Sentell Avalos-McDonald has embraced a discreet approach to his personal life while making notable strides in the fashion industry. As a designer at NOKOMIS and an alumnus of the New York School of Design (NYSD), he made a significant mark by debuting at Nolcha Fashion Week. Despite keeping his life private, his dedication to his career is evident, suggesting a focused and intentional commitment to his craft. Sentell Avalos-McDonald’s journey reflects a balance of professional success and a preference for maintaining a level of privacy in the public eye.

Vincent “ChaCha” Yu is Now a College Professor

ChaCha Yu has diversified his career, emerging as a TED speaker, podcast host, and college professor. His ability to engage diverse audiences through public speaking and digital media reflects his dynamic approach to communication. Additionally, his role as the public relations and marketing assistant at Giuseppe Zanotti underscores his presence in the fashion industry, complemented by the personal touch of his blog, What’s Up ChaCha. In this multifaceted journey, ChaCha Yu navigates the intersections of academia, fashion, and media, showcasing his adaptability and passion for sharing insights with others.

Read More: Project Runway Season 10: Where Are the Designers Now?