Justin LeBlanc, the NC State graduate and design professor who won fans and friends on Lifetime’s “Project Runway” last year, is previewing his spring/summer 2015 collection tonight with a show titled “Inaudible.”
In the collection LeBlanc, who is deaf and wears a cochlear implant, revisits the theme of his thesis show at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he explored communication between hearing and deaf people.
He describes the looks as upscale, casual and comfortable. No word on whether we’ll see anything like the gown made of tiny pipettes that wowed the judges last summer on the “Project Runway” finale, but the collection does include the use of 3-D printing, something that’s become a hallmark of LeBlanc’s style. You can buy one of LeBlanc’s 3-D printed bow ties on jleblancdesign.com.
LeBlanc has been busy since “Project Runway.” He spoke to students at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design about his transition from architecture to fashion, showed his 3-D printed fashion at the International CES Show in Las Vegas, Nev., and presented a collection last spring at Charleston Fashion Week. That was on top of teaching classes and serving as co-director of NC State’s own Art2Wear show.
A sponsor of the event is Bida Manda restaurant, a Laotian restaurant in Raleigh owned by Vansana Nolintha, who was a Caldwell Fellow at NC State with LeBlanc. (We profiled Nolintha in the Autumn 2013 issue of NC State magazine.) Arts Access, a Raleigh-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to the arts to those with disabilities, will provide a sign language interpreter and an audio description of the event.
–Sylvia Adcock ’81