You said you were surprised you made it this far. Why?
Maybe not so much surprised. I mean, my goal was to make it this far, but I think the most surprising thing was that I was the last guy, when there were people like Ra’mon Lawrence and Nicolas and in the case of Ra’mon, I think he was so talented and it was a shock to all of us when he went home.
Was it hard for you to watch the last episode?
I think it was probably a little harder than other episodes but I had a couple friends with me – I’m in New York right now - and Carol Hannah came and hung out at the hotel with me too.
How hard was it to stay quiet about this season for a whole year?
It’s so funny, because people were coming up to me and going “Tell me who won,” or “Who makes it to the finals?” and I always go, “I had to wait like a year to even say I was on the show. You can wait a couple of weeks.” And who would want to spoil it anyway? I’m a huge fan of the show like you guys are, and I would not want to know who advances and who doesn’t and that sort of thing.
How was it reading all the comments online, all the I-Hate-Hims and even the I-Love-Hims?
Yeah, I think the hate ones were the hardest. It just didn’t come from your blog or other blogs, I was getting it in email. In the beginning I was getting a lot of “Good luck” or “I’ll see you at fashion week,” or whatever, and then all of a sudden it turns around I’m getting hate mail. It was hard to adjust to that. You start off loving the blogs and reading all the comments on blogs and refreshing every 15 minutes and the next thing you know you keep going and going and going. And then it reaches a point where you say, “I’m only gonna read what Tom and Lorenzo have to say because I can’t read all the comments.” It really got tough and I never expected that it would be as tough it was. I really had no problem for a long time reading the criticisms but after a while it became the same thing over and over and I thought “I really have to stop this.”
So what happened with you? You went from winning the first challenge and being on the top to being on the bottom over and over again.
It never really changed, what my process was. I really internalized whatever the challenge was and just did what I thought was appropriate. And it just happened to work out that they like it for the first couple challenges but then after that it kind of turned. But I never stopped doing what I felt always needed to do and I felt very validated because – well I made the mistake of reading you guys the other day, talking about how I was delusional, and I thought I was very aware of my place. This last episode showed that when I said that I get it. I’m the whacky oddball that doesn’t listen to the judges. That made me very happy to see that.
Do you think the lack of consistency in the judges had something to do with it?
I really didn’t have an issue with the judges because it didn’t matter to me who was judging it or if I was top and bottom because it was just about me wanting to tell my story and present my vision with every piece. I always used to say back when I was just a fan of the show and watching it, “If it was me, well first, I would prefer to be at the top, but if I can’t be at the top, I’d rather be on the bottom before being safe.” Because if you’re safe, you’re forgettable.
One of the criticisms that came up on our blog was that you never seemed to have a moment where you looked at your work and said “Oh, I think I’m in trouble.” You were always very happy with your work and then, bottom again. What happened there?
Well, I showed twelve pieces and I was really only safe twice. After that, I was always either in the top or the bottom. So I really got a lot of runway time, whether it was defending myself or just telling my story. I got a lot of exposure and that was really the reason I wanted to do the show; to get the exposure.
Yeah, you mentioned in your exit interview that you got to show twelve pieces. That’s definitely an accomplishment.
Absolutely. It’s still one step away but so many steps further than other designers got to take so to be able to see all my pieces, a piece from every show, was really amazing and not every designer on the show gets that. I got as far as other designers like Chris March and Austin Scarlett who I’ve been looking up to for so long.
What was the atmosphere like when it was down to just the five of you and you were the only guy?
You know they were talking the other episode about how there aren’t enough female designers representing and the industry is dominated by male designers and that’s a totally valid view, that there are a lot of male designers dominating this world. But my take on it wasn’t specifically about the gender issue; my take was more that I really just wanted to take it to the next level and if they appreciate it, that’s great.
You were one of the few designers who never seemed to have a bad thing to say about the other designers.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to have to take something back or to have regrets. I was aware of how I was going to be portrayed as on the show and I didn’t want to give them any opportunity to portray me as the jerk. But that’s not me in real life. I don’t sit there and bash people. It’s like when Johnny made that jacket that everyone hated? And all the other designers were going, “It’s disgusting!” and I could kind of relate to it and it was hard for me to sit there and judge. I might have made a jacket like that.
Do you think you would have fared better if you had schooling or training?
As a real-life designer, if I was going to try and get a job somewhere and design for them? Absolutely, 100 percent. The advantage that I have is that I just sort of come up with my own way of doing things. There’s a market out there for the odd. I loved Ari, I was surprised she was gone by the second episode, but I loved her and appreciated what she did. On as show like this, the fact that I didn’t go to school was to my advantage because it helped me get cast.
Did you enjoy the experience? Do you think you got something out of it?
I would do it a hundred times over again even with the same outcome. It was definitely a goal of mine, to do something like this, not only for my professional life but also as a sort of a documentary of a designer like myself, that just sort of tries and tries and tries and sometimes they stumble and sometimes they succeed, but I’m just so glad it all got caught on on-camera because it’s something I’ll look back on for the rest of my life.
So what’s next for you?
I have a collection of handbags and accessories available on my web site, www.christopherstraub.com, and I have them at several boutiques and I’m working with a number of retailers on developing collections with them and I’m really taking my point of view to the next level. After all the agreements are signed, I’ll keep you guys posted on where you might be seeing more work.
Well, good luck with that. Thank you so much, Christopher.
Well thank you! I love you guys! Without you guys, this wouldn’t be as big as it is.
Post a Comment