The Winner of Project Runway Season One: Where's Jay?


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by Kristin Marino
Fashion School Review Columnist

August 28, 2006


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What fan of the Project Runway fashion design show could forget Jay McCarroll, winner of season one? A self-described "fat ass" with pink tinted glasses who actually hates shopping, this fashion designer won $100,000, and a mentorship at Banana Republic. How's that fashion career of Jay's cooking along these days?

According to reports, although he needed the money, Jay declined the $100,000 grand prize as winner of Project Runway, in order to "pursue other financial avenues." It's been reported that he turned down the money in hopes of signing a licensing deal with an undisclosed company.

Graduating with a degree from Philadelphia University, Jay was a struggling fashion designer when he was tapped for the first season of Project Runway. Addition to the money he received a mentorship with Banana Republic and a chance to design Heidi Klum's dress for the Emmy Awards, which, according to Jay, "didn't pan out...It had all the best intentions, but it didn't turn out so beautifully." Basically Heidi turned the dress down at the last minute...while he was still working on it.

And as for the Banana Republic mentorship? Thanks but no thanks. "[E]verything was fine with them, just bad timing. I couldn't think about mass production in China the week I won the show." Could anyone who's slaved over a fashion degree imagine making such a move?

At last report, he was working on two collections; an abbreviated collection for fall 2006 and a more comprehensive collection for spring 2007. His website was slated to launch on July 1, 2006.

Any aspiring fashion designer would imagine that a crack at winning Project Runway would mean fame, fortune, and a stellar fashion career. Jay proves that this might not be the case. Maybe the best path to a career in fashion design is still getting a fashion degree.

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About the Author
Kristin Marino is obsessed with haute couture, even though she lives in Reno, Nevada, where you can't even get Gucci or Louis Vuitton, let alone Jimmy Choo. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Composition from the University of Nevada.

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