FSU Fashion Alums Discuss Experience on Project Runway

Two rising stars from Framingham State’s Fashion Design and Retailing Program returned to campus in the fall to discuss their experience competing on the hit reality television show Project Runway.

Cornelius Ortiz ’15 and Nathalia JMag ’16 made it deep into the competition, despite being two of the youngest designers on the show. The two independent designers said the experience was intense and exhausting, but the increased exposure and business opportunities were worth it in the end.

“It shows that if you have a dream, no matter how big or how small, if you work for it you can achieve it," said JMag. "It wasn't overnight. I feel like I've been putting in a lot of work for the past four years and I felt like it wasn't getting anywhere and this happened."

The process to get on the show involves a lengthy questionnaire, a submitted video, design samples and multiple rounds of interviews. Ortiz, who finished in the top 5 and received the famous Tim Gunn save, says the producers look for designers who aren’t afraid to be different and try new things.

"Stay true to yourself, stay true to your aesthetic and be bold and fun because that is what fashion is all about," he said. "And be different. That's what they are looking for."

Both designers credited the FSU Fashion Design Program with providing them with the knowledge and experience they needed to compete against some of the most talented designers in the country.

“My experience at Framingham State helped me get to where I am today,” JMag told the students. “Not just Project Runway, but building my brand.”

Ortiz and JMag encouraged the students to take advantage of their remaining time in school.

“With anything in life you have to put in the work,” JMag said. “Do more. Create a whole collection. Make the most of your time.”

“I would spend countless hours in the sewing lab,” Ortiz added. “I learned a lot teaching myself in my spare time.”