Project Runway season 17 winner Sebastian Grey says emotions fueled winning designs


Sebastian Grey earned the Project Runway season 17 winner title. Beyond the little details, he found a way to channel his emotions into his finale collection.

Even in the first challenge, Sebastian Grey was a stand-out on this season’s Project Runway.

The eventual Project Runway season 17 winner continually showed designs that soared and impressed both the judges and all of us at home. While he might have had moments of frustration, he found a way to accomplish his goal.

After the finale, Grey graciously answered some questions for Culturess about his design influences, the season’s challenges and which celebrity that he would love to dress. Just as his designs showed thoughtfulness through season 17, his responses were equally as reflective.

Through the season, Grey seemed to have a particular style. While he might not have called his looks sophisticated, the judges and fans applauded his elevated taste. In each challenge, Grey had a specific goal.

“My intent in each challenge was just do a good job and make it into the next challenge,” Grey says. “My perfection and attention to the ‘little details’ is what pushed it to the next level. Sometimes I stood back and was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I made that.’”

In some ways, his understated confidence endeared Grey to fans. For the most part, his designs spoke for him each and every week.

One aspect that set Grey’s look apart from the other designers was his signature stitch. While not necessarily a new technique, it served him well on Project Runway.

“The top stitching was a technique that I performed for well over 10 years prior to the show,” Grey tells us. “Early on in my career money was very tight and left me with very little options for fabrics, so I decided to play with textures and started to develop and define my top stitch technique. Over the years it became a part of my signature look. I continually try to perfect it.”

In addition to the Grey stitch, he seemed to be technically efficient in creating new designs each and every week. The interesting part is that there was a little secret behind his ability.

Grey shares that little secret, telling Culturess “I’m not the biggest fan of sewing, but I never thought about me being fast or good at it.”

“Attention to details are important,” he adds. “Details can make or break an outfit. I also have to thank my professors in Colombia and here in the states pushing me to think outside the box, remain focused, and be determined. These were all elements of my secret sauce.”

While that signature style and technical ability set him apart, occasionally the challenges and the competitive environment proved to be overwhelming. Although he didn’t leave in the competition, the pressure was a lot. Still, the experience proved to be beneficial.

Looking back at the season and the pressure, Grey says, “Long day and nights can turn into a lack of sleep which starts to conflict with your creative juices.”

“You literally are cut off from the outside world. You live, eat, and breathe your challenges. It starts to be mind over matter. Lots of meditation and reflection helped get me through to the end. I wouldn’t have changed anything. It only made me a better person and designer.”

Looking back at the season as a whole, the judges and fans started to know a Grey look. From his head to toe print to the ethereal 11th look challenge, any woman would feel beautiful in one of his designs. There is an air of strength, confidence and beauty.

Grey’s favorite challenge was the “Everyday Women of NYC Challenge.” In this challenge he created a Retro 50’s, pink, sparkly, princess dress.

His reasoning for this challenge being his favorite was quite insightful.

“I had to think for a bit on how to incorporate all these unique elements but it turned out gorgeous,” Grey says. “The best part is she was so happy and in love. To see her walk that runway and be confident. She looked absolutely amazing and it showed. She actually wrote me and thanked me for dressing her. She was even hoping to wear it to her engagement party if her boyfriend asked her to marry him.”

While this challenge might have been a favorite, Grey’s finale collection saw him come full circle. The judges often pushed him to tell a story with his looks. In the finale, his collection, “reminiscence,” Grey channeled his Colombian culture in a way that every woman could appreciate.

In a way, this collection was more personal that anyone could have seen from watching the show. The collection was part his culture and part his family.

“Some of the most influential memories of anyone’s past is typically from their childhood. Colombia has many elements and hidden treasures that need to be shown to the world. My collection was a small part of that and my journeys I made with my parents when I was young.”

So many of the collection’s pieces impressed. As each looked walked the runway, it was another example of a design that needs to be added to a fashionista’s closet.

Still, it had to be asked if he had a favorite look.

“My favorite piece was the full body cream/taupe interweaving leather piece,” he shares. “This incorporated all elements of my memories and history of Colombia. The dress spoke about the legacy of my father and his profession of a leather manufacturer, the interwoven leather represented the heritage of basket making by the artisans of my country and the colors represented the love I have for the beaches in Colombia.”

After being crowned Project Runway season 17 winner, the future is very promising for Sebastian Grey. With many doors starting to open for him, Grey does have a dream celebrity client.

“My absolute dream celebrity would be Lady Gaga. She embodies power, empowerment, and sexiness,” Grey explains. “It would be an honor and privilege to have an amazing opportunity to collaborate and partner with her. I’ve tried dropping hints to her on social media and hoping I get a response.”

In many ways, Project Runway was a learning experience and helped Grey grow. As the judges and Christian pushed him to find the stories behind his clothes, it caused Grey to reach deeper.

“Telling a story behind my concepts and inspiration. I always found it difficult. My mindset was that I just like making beautiful clothes with designs that come to my head and just ‘go with the flow.'”

After this experience, he realizes “my emotional journey of my childhood and how those emotions guided my thoughts and hands into making some of the best designs yet. I realized adding emotion and feelings really help steer the process.”

Project Runway fans and fashionistas should expect great things from Sebastian Grey. His thoughtful approach to design as well as his attention to detail will serve him well as he finds his place in the fashion world.

What is next for the Project Runway season 17 winner? The sky is the limit.

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What was your favorite look from Sebastian? Which challenge did you think was his strongest?