Justin LeBlanc, an NC State alumnus and an assistant professor in the College of Design, survived last week’s edition of Project Runway, competing against other designers to win prizes worth $500,000. In an interview with our Sylvia Adcock — conducted by email through a Lifetime publicist —LeBlanc talked about how his experiences at NC State helped prepare him for the show’s design-on-demand mentality.
What’s been the most fun about being on the show? My favorite part about being on the show is meeting Tim Gunn! He is such an amazing person and he is truly a genuine person. I also loved all the designers that I met on the show and many of them will certainly become life-long friends.
Did anything you learned at NC State help you along the way? Being in the architecture program really helped me tremendously in learning how to cope with the demands, all-nighters in the studio, and the goal to execute every single project like survival depends on it. Just going through all of that really helped me as a designer and in some ways, prepared me for Project Runway. My experiences with Art2Wear, as both a designer and a faculty co-advisor, also has given me perspective and experience with all of the intricacies associated with a runway show.
What’s it been like working under the deadline pressure of the show? It was actually insane to work under the deadlines imposed upon us, but it was very rewarding to discover that I am capable of designing and creating a well-made garment in such a short period of time. ….The experience on the show is actually very similar to my experience as a designer for the Art2Wear runway show in 2008 due to the short time frame that designers have to create a collection.
And of course we want to know, where are you now? No comment. Ha ha!
Check out the dresses designed by LeBlanc in the first three episodes: