In Project Runway season 18, Sergio Guadarrama was considered the ultimate craftsman. While sometimes controversial, his talent is undeniable.
When Project Runway season 18 began, some fashionistas might have already been familiar with Sergio Guadarrama. Although not necessarily a household name, many of his designs have been highly regarded. While the Billy Porter gown comes to mind, Guadarrama and his design company have had a few epic moments.
Still, throughout season 18, Guadarrama looked to be more than just a fashion designer who made impeccable clothes. He took challenges as a moment to make a statement. Although the judges may have always appreciated his commentary, he was never afraid to express his views.
Looking at Guadarrama’s designs, many of his looks, especially the gowns, were simply stunning. Even though your average woman might not be wearing these looks every day, there was beauty and elegance in many of the designs.
While the judges might have been looking for a little more edge, there is no denying that Guadarrama and his talent is distinguished. Just looking at a few of his pieces from the finale collection, there is an audience who would want to be dressed by him.
Although many fans (and even the finale guest judge) thought that Guadarrama deserved the season 18 winner title, the future looks bright for him and his brand. Given his classic designs, there is and will be an audience for his looks.
After the Project Runway finale, Guadarrama graciously answered some questions for Culturess.
Culturess: Prior to competing on Project Runway you had a successful career. Why did you choose to compete?
Sergio Guadarrama: My partner, Kade, and I [started a company that] was fortunate enough to have some amazing moments prior to Project Runway. However, we did not have the large-scale platform that we were wishing to achieve to make the true changes in the world that we wish to make. I choose to go on Project Runway, because I felt it was a platform that I could [use to] raise awareness to all of the many political topics that i choose to tackle in today’s time. The show offered the ability for me to make it into the homes of many, and allowed me to spread a message of the problems we are facing in this world today through fashion. Fashion is political and always has been political. I wanted to show people that you can make a difference with what you create and wear.
Culturess: Throughout the season, you used your designs to make a larger statement. Why is important for your designs to have a social commentary?
Guadarrama: Like I said, fashion is political. We wake up and put cloths on every day. We show who we are, what we stand for, what we believe, how we feel, etc., all through fashion. Fashion can tell stories and have backstories. In the world we live in, we have to be willing to stand up for minorities, and we have to be willing to face the realities that are oppressing people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or the wealth status. As a politically, socially conscious, environmentally friendly, and sustainable company, it is my duty to make these statements and bring awareness to the viewers of Project Runway. My partner and I have always run CELESTINO (our business) this way and will continue to, so that we can start conversation and make a positive change in society.
Culturess: Throughout the season, your designs were beautifully finished. Do you think that your craftsmanship set you apart?
Guadarrama: Thank you for appreciating the craftsmanship! Many people do not really understand how much work it takes to sew a garment, much less make it look like it wasn’t made in a day. Sewing is not easy; it takes years of repetition, schooling, and is a skill that develops over time. The fact that myself and my castmates sent models down the runway in cloths in one-day challenges goes to show how talented we all are! I think my atheistic and my craftsmanship definitely played a part in defining who I am as a designer. Do I think it set me apart? I mean, everyone on this show offered something different atheistically that set us apart. We all had our strong suits as designers. I owe a lot of my craftsmanship to FIT, FIDM, and my time at the Metropolitan Opera. All of those places taught me a lot about how to tailor and create to perfection the best looks.
Culturess: If the average woman wanted to make a statement with her fashion, what is a key piece to add to her closet?
Guadarrama: No woman is average; everyone has the ability to make a statement every day. We are all our own canvas, and we can paint and create any look to show just who we feel we are! You cannot go wrong with a great dress that defines your waistline (the smallest part of your torso). If you want to make an entrance in the room, find a dress that has an elevated detail on either the shoulder or the sleeve. Women and men can all carry a detail of some sort on our shoulders and arms.
Culturess: How did it feel to show at New York Fashion Week (NYFW)? Have you shown there before?
Guadarrama: Showing at Spring Studios during NYFW was amazing! It was definitely the biggest show I have had, and it truly was the most rewarding experience showcasing my collection titled “Ocean Anthem.” For me, getting to showcase a collection that tells the story of the Arctic melting, and raising awareness as to why it is important for us to preserve the Arctic, on a large-scale platform, in a room that appreciated the clothing and the message, was genuinely the most beautiful experience.
Kade and I have showcased CELESTINO at fashion week each season, but the cost to do a full-fledged runway show is costly, so we often do presentations for the collections created. So, getting the opportunity to show a runway show with no restrictions was incredible for me and my company.
Culturess: How do you think Project Runway will help you and your brand?
Guadarrama: I think Project Runway helped me show the world a snippet of what we do as a company here at CELESTINO. It helped me spread the awareness I was wishing to make as a Mexican American, LGBTQIA+ designer who wanted to help make change for not just my communities, but other minorities that are affected today. I hope that, with being on the show, it can continue the narrative I wish to tell about making a change in this world, and encourage the world to become more political, environmentally friendly, socially conscious, and sustainable, so we can grow, come together, and support each other in society today.
Sergio Guadarrama runs his fashion design company, CELESTINO, with his partner. The brand is an Atelier design company that focuses environmental, socially conscious, upcylced and LGBTQ+ purposes.
What was your favorite look from Sergio Guadarrama? Do you feel that he should have won the season 18 title?