Interview: Zayden Skipper appreciates that standing out takes confidence

PROJECT RUNWAY -- "Couch Couture" Episode 1908 -- Pictured: Zayden Skipper -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY -- "Couch Couture" Episode 1908 -- Pictured: Zayden Skipper -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

During Project Runway Season 19, Zayden Skipper seemed to appreciate the opportunity that the Bravo fashion competition show could have on his career. While his designs impressed on the runway, his poignant commentary on his struggles pushing him to turn his passion into a career made a connection to the viewers. Although many people see fashion as art, that method of expression runs far deeper than a look that has people doing a double-take.

Recently, Zayden Skipper spoke to Culturess about his experience on Project Runway. While he had highs and lows during the competition, the experience was a positive one for him.

Through Project Runway Season 19, there were moments where the magnitude of the competition seemed to weigh on Zayden. Still, the situation was one that he wanted to celebrate.

Specifically, Zayden said “what pushed me was that I was so honored to be a representative of so many overlooked designers that look just like me. I wanted to show the world that this boy from the south side of Chicago is the “G.O.A.T”. I wanted to bring some new flavor to the show.”

While the opportunity presented to him was great, Zayden was unafraid to speak his truth. Although the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry have an allure, the reality isn’t always so sparkly.

Zayden shared, “as a designer, it is a struggle to start your own business or brand, especially as a black designer. It can affect you mentally if you let it when others don’t want to see or take you seriously as a talented designer. But with faith comes success and I believe that if I invest in myself I will achieve any goals I set forth for myself. I’m never a quitter. I always succeeded in anything I set my mind to.”

Although some Project Runway designers seem to have a very clear aesthetic, Zayden’s looks appeared to evolve through the show. In some ways, Zayden believed that his ability to morph his style was a benefit in the competition.

Zayden believes “because I’m not like the others, I stand out. I come with a different perspective. I don’t fit in anybody’s box. I’ve shown that I can do it all from “Couture” to “Street Wear” to “Avant-garde” both in men and women’s I wouldn’t change anything but the more resources and time to complete the challenges lol but no I don’t have any regrets.”

Even though he has no regrets, the reality is that his ability to be vocal about his struggles can help others. For him, it was “because I understood the assignment and made people see Zayden and the talent I have to offer the world. Hoping that I can break down those barriers to show more talented designers of color and to have a more inclusive industry. If I have this platform I have to represent my culture to the best with pride and resilience. I feel that when people watch me who understands the assignment will understand I’ve completed the assignment.”

Although reality television can be filled with drama, Zayden looked to stay above the fray. Given the opportunity presented to him, he appreciated that his approach would stay with him far longer than each walk down the runway.

Zayden shared, “I didn’t come on the show to be a part of any negativity or drama. My objective was that this is my livelihood, I’m serious about what I do and I have no time for foolishness or unnecessary attention. I made sure that I prayed every day which guided me through this competition. This made me see the light. It is important to not get involved with negativity because it has no benefit. And once people realize that they can be as talented and focused as I.”

Now that his time on Project Runway has ended, what is next for Zayden Skipper? The answer was simple. “Big things are in-store, let’s just say “I Dress The Influencers” and “Get Ready Cool Kids”.

Project Runway Season 19 airs on Bravo and can be streamed on Peacock.

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