Who says good guys always finish last? Not if you ask Mychael (yes, that’s correct) Knight. He was in town last week to promote his Starbucks ‘My Starbucks’ partnership and we had some time to speak to him before the caffeine and madness kicked in.
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First of all, he’s taller than you may think. At 6′ 2″ he enters a room. Second, he is confident! Not cocky or arrogant, just assured.
SCS: So, why are you in town?
MK: Starbucks became fans during my stint on Project Runway. The company supports creativity, artistic ideas and edgy fun so they approached me to create customizable t-shirts that reflect their customizable drinks. I illustrated my designer interpretation of each Starbuck’s drink. The t-shirts are free (visit: Starbucks.com).
SCS: OK, enough of that, let’s get to the juicy stuff. Are you really like you were portrayed on Project Runway?
MK: I was. Although they showed one facet of my personality. I mean, I am really laid back and don’t get involved in the pettiness, but it’s like they pick your character and that’s how you are portrayed. I was the nice guy. I was in total work mode and extremely focused. I become very tunnel-visioned when I’m in that zone.
SCS: Was Jeffrey really an ass?
MK: Honestly, he’s a really cool guy. What can I say? I got along with everybody.
SCS: I commented that you were silent but deadly. I picked you out as a real contender right after the first challenge when you created that coffee filter dress that nobody even acknowledged. What did you think of that?
MK: I thought I was the most creative and should have won that challenge. My friends and family were like “you aren’t getting any airtime” the first few weeks. Luckily I knew my time was coming.
SCS: What are you doing now?
MK: The ‘My Starbucks’ gig right now, but I’m working on my own label and just finished my samples and looking for backing. I am also developing a fragrance called Majk which is a play on my initials and designing a precious jewels line which will start at about $100,000.
SCS: Are you going to stay in Atlanta?
MK: Everyone expects me to move to New York, but I’m staying put. I want to be a bully in my own playground. I’m working with the mayor to bring a fashion district to Atlanta. My goal is to create my own empire and be a major impact on the fashion industry.
SCS: I almost forgot that you nearly didn’t get picked to be on Season III. Chloe fought to bring you on, right?
MK: Actually, I tried out for Season II and Tim Gunn told me to go back and hone in on who I am as a designer. I was surprised he had reservations my next attempt. It was really Chloe and two other producers that were on my side. Thankfully I won Tim over.
SCS: It seemed for a while there you had a really good run and kept winning.
MK: Yes. I was the first person to win three in a row.
SCS: The couture challenge really seamed to throw you for a loop and some questioned if that broke your mindset.
MK: Couture really isn’t my look, but I loved that dress and thought it was “the shit”. Besides, they didn’t show what really happened.
SCS: What really happened?
MK: A lot. First they threw my fabric away and I had to make the dress from the scraps that were left. Second, I was told my model was a size 6 and but sent me a size 2 model. Third, it was hot as hell in Paris and my model got sweat stains on the dress. She also had used some type of body oil that stained the dress. Fourth, the model ripped a hole in the back of the dress with her heel. Lastly, there were eggs being thrown at all of us, but my dress was the only one that was hit. I just wanted to drink champagne and get drunk at that point.
SCS: OK, it has been said that seemed that you reverted back to your old urban style when it came time for the New York Fashion Week runway. Were you just working outside of your comfort zone for the challenges on the show?
MK: No. That was all Mychael. The styling was different, but I’m all about fit. I just prefer an urban effect. By urban I don’t mean hip-hop. I mean you’re urban, I’m urban, we live in a city. To me urban is whatever is going on now.
SCS: So what were you thinking when you were designing for your runway show?
MK: That I had to be true to who I am and I did what I wanted to do and not what the judges wanted me to do. I have impeccable taste, the judges just didn’t understand me, but that’s what they said about (my role model), Versace. I wanted to go out with a bang.
SCS: Did you want to win?
MK: Not really. I mean Laura and I were thankful we didn’t. We got our names out there, our lives have changed dramatically due to Project Runway, but the reality is, we don’t have the pressure. It’s actually a blessing in disguise to lose. Now I can focus on what I want to do. In my mind I won.
SCS: So tell us about your new collection.
MK: My new collection I think reflects how much I have grown. It’s probably what the judges would have liked to have seen. But, I’m young and still have time to grow as a designer. I am really getting in touch with who I am. I love my new collection. It’s 60’s inspired. I still have those “kapow” pieces, but I have softer ones too.
SCS: So when can we see it?
MK: I’m traveling a lot until the end of the month, but I will have them up on my site soon. So check back. MychaelKnight.com
There is no stopping this Mychael. What a focused…nice guy.