Project Runway Junior’s Matt Sarafa On Being A Teen Fashion Designer

The first season of Lifetime’s Project Runway Junior kicks off with some exciting promises in store—Michelle Obama and Bella Thorne will make appearances on the new show presented by co-hosts Tim Gunn, Hannah Davis, and guest judges will include Kelly Osbourne and Christian Siriano. Most exciting, however, is the part where you get to see who wins, and our money’s on Matt Sarafa, the 17-year-old contestant whose understanding of fashion rivals that of industry vets. “I used to exclusively design over-the-top couture pieces,” he said. “While I still love doing those, I’ve started focusing on some more ready-to-wear pieces that can be rocked by the everyday person.”

Designing ready-to-wear at 17? Where’s a teen to go from there? Read up on Matt’s thoughts below, and tune into Project Runway Junior, premiering Thursday, November 12 9/8 to find out more.

Galore: Who inspired you to get into fashion, and appeals to you about Project Runway?

MS: It was less of a who and more of a what. I first stumbled upon Project Runway when I was 7, and that was what really piqued my interest in fashion and design. I had always been creative and loved drawing, so sketching came naturally to me. I wanted to take it to the next level, so I started taking sewing classes and I have kept going from there. It’s so crazy to me that I’m part of the show that inspired me to pursue a career in fashion design!

What is your relationship like with the other competitors? Was it stressful working with and against them?

MS: Going into the competition, I absolutely wasn’t expecting to get as close to the other contestants as I did. It’s hard to find other kids our age with the same passion and drive, so we immediately had something in common to bond over. We all still text each other daily and I feel like I have made some lifelong friends.

What design house would you choose to creative direct for, and why? 

MS: Alexander McQueen has been my favorite brand for a long time. I feel that I have a similar design style, so I think I would fit right in. 

Who’s your ultimate female muse?

MS: Lady Gaga has been and forever will be my ultimate fashion inspiration. I think her style is just so edgy. and she is not afraid to take a risk which is something I really admire. Seeing her style evolve through the years has been fun to follow. I love watching her every week on “American Horror Story: Hotel,” where she’s killing the fashion game in every episode.

How has social media played a part in your career so far?

MS: Instagram is my favorite social media platform because I love posting pictures of my outfits and what I’m up to. I’m also on YouTube (MakeupByMatt), and I have a channel dedicated to beauty and fashion where I share tips and tricks relating to makeup and style.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

MS: I love edgy guys with tattoos, like Adam Levine.

We love Hannah Davis! How was it working with her as a judge and host?

MS: Hannah is so amazing. She’s incredibly sweet and even more beautiful in person. She’s honestly flawless. I feel like she genuinely connected with each and every one of us, both on and off camera.

Tim Gunn has taken you under his wing. What advice has he given you that has stuck with you?

MS: I’ve idolized Tim ever since I was 7, so getting to meet him in person for the first time was surreal. The best advice I got from him while being on the show was to watch my tendency to over-design. I love doing over-the-top costume pieces, but he really stressed that often simplicity can make the bigger impact.

What comes next for you?

MS: Amazing opportunities have opened up for me since filming the show—I’m working really hard to get my website up, and I’m designing a couple of pieces that will be available for purchase. A lot of what I’m currently working on is top secret, so make sure to follow me on social media to be the first to know all the exciting projects I’m going to be a part of!


Photo courtesy of Brooke Mason

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