Project Runway designer Brittany Allen proves second chances can be rewarding

PROJECT RUNWAY -- Season:18 -- Pictured: Brittany Allen -- (Photo by: Joe Pugliese/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY -- Season:18 -- Pictured: Brittany Allen -- (Photo by: Joe Pugliese/Bravo) /

After receiving the first Siriano Save, Project Runway fashion designer Brittany Allen proved that second chances can be quite rewarding.

Although the finale was not in the cards for her, Brittany Allen was the vibrant Project Runway fashion designer who brought the fashion show a punch of flare. From her celebration of prints to her powerful color choices, she looked to stand out in this season’s competition. In some cases, her journey in season 18 is a testament to anyone to be fearless in pursuing your dreams.

From the first moment she appeared, and especially after her success in the first challenge, Project Runway fans knew that Allen was going to have a presence in the workroom. In challenges where she stayed true to her design aesthetic, Allen shined. Many of her designs had a real-woman universality that fans appreciated.

Even though other designers openly bragged about their expertise, Allen has a long list of accomplishments. As stated on her namesake brand’s website, Allen has significant formal training and expertise. With her PhD in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design nearing completion, her knowledge allows her to create looks that are unique perfection.

Although she describes her design aesthetic as “if Dolly Parton and Betsey Johnson had a baby who was then raised by Anna Wintour,” that dichotomy makes her looks exciting. There is a touch of adventure, yet enough restraint to offer the perfect ready wear balance.

While Allen just missed out on the Project Runway finale, her design career and her brand is ready to soar. After her final episode, she graciously answered some questions for Culturess.

Culturess: While fashion designers find inspiration from many sources, have you ever been inspired by a piece of architecture?

Brittany Allen: I would say I definitely have been inspired by architecture, but I am actually just constantly inspired by everything that is around me all the time. I pull inspiration from just about anything. Landscapes, colors, prints, patterns, art, people, and architecture for sure. It is sometimes subconscious, but this source of inspiration isn’t new to me.

Culturess: The venue/runway for this challenge, The Vessel, had a big impact on how the avant-garde looked. Did you take the venue into consideration for your design?

Allen: Most definitely. The Vessel is the epitome of volume and statement in artwork form. That’s what I wanted to do for my look. Something that had so much volume, a lot of fabric, something that you couldn’t keep your eyes off of (hence the color), and something that made a statement overall. I wanted something that complimented the colors in The Vessel, so color was my main source of inspiration here.

Culturess: The avant-garde challenge is often the most exciting one for the designers. Did you feel that this challenge was a good representation of your design aesthetic?

Allen: I wouldn’t say that. I am a ready-to-wear designer. I think about fashion on the hanger with a commerce perspective. I love working with customers, I love meeting people and hearing what they want in a garment, and I like to think about women grabbing my garment out of their closet and being a part of their everyday life. I don’t think about fashion in art form. Sure, it is a way I express myself through design, but in the end, I want my designs to be worn by women that are like me. That isn’t avant-garde. I don’t have the time or money to think about fashion in a conceptual way anymore.

Culturess: Being both a double elimination and the final elimination before New York Fashion Week, did the pressure inhibit your design process?

Allen: Big time. This was the final challenge. I had to just get over one hurdle before I could go home and sew away at a 10-piece collection. But that pressure takes over your creative ability and mental state. I think at this point, I was so tired, this challenge was not in my wheelhouse, and it may have affected me subconsciously. In the end, I am super proud of what I made throughout this entire competition and, frankly, I loved what I was able to do for the avant-garde challenge. It was as me as it could be in conceptual form.

Culturess: Do you feel that Project Runway and this season’s challenges pushed you outside of your comfort zone? Did that make you a better designer?

Allen: I made things this season I never thought I would make. I made things that pushed me to be my better self and I was able to have the nerve to take risks. I am a better designer because of this entire competition and the competitors I was able to stand up on the runway with. I wouldn’t trade one second of it for anything. It unlocked a creative part of my brain that I’m excited to run with.

Culturess: What was your favorite challenge of this season?

Allen: That’s easy. The Ashley Longshore challenge. I think it would have still been my favorite even if I wouldn’t have won it. She sparks so much joy, and at that middle checkpoint of the competition, it was so nice to have her smiling face at Bergdorf’s being the first thing we saw. She is an incredible artist, and I have looked up to her for about four years. I also love to design with print, so nothing was going to bring me down in that challenge.

Culturess: What is next for you and/or your brand?

Allen: I’ve got so many good things in the works, and I’m super excited for the future. Right now, I’m planning out my next collection that will be FULL of exciting prints, beautiful colors, and feminine silhouettes. I may be getting some financial backing to really take my brand to the next level and get into stores all over the U.S. We are working with a few celebs to get on the red carpet and create some awesome tour looks for concerts! I may be a little overwhelmed, but I am thankful that Project Runway gave me the voice I needed to show the world what I can do. People are seeing my capabilities and really want to be a part of this growth.

Brittany Allen has her namesake brand that offers ready to wear as well as custom and bridal pieces.

Project Runway season 18 airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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Which was your favorite Brittany look from Project Runway? Do you think that she should have made the finale?