'Project Runway' winner Dmitry Sholokhov on his design secrets and constructive criticism
"It was very difficult not to talk about it, especially for the first week, then I kind of got used to it. Then I almost forgot," Sholokhov jokes. "Last night I had the chance to relive this moment again."
While Sholokhov was definitely one of the strongest competitors all season long, he didn't really start winning challenges until the second half. "I stayed positive throughout the competition, but I definitely felt like I was ignored for the first half. The thing is, I was never the designer who was on the bottom. I was always safe or on top, but I wasn't winning any of the challenges so it was very frustrating."
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Which one was he most surprised not to win? "Definitely the candy challenge, because out of everyone's, the dress looked like a real dress. It didn't look like it was candy, it was just beaded and so intricate."
That's not to say he didn't think he was up against some stiff competition -- throughout the season Dmitry says Christopher Palu was one of his biggest competitors, but when it came time for fashion week, it was clear Fabio was the one to beat. "He had the most unique collection out of the three of [his fellow finalists]. I think Fabio has a vision."
Dmitry also appreciated every bit of the judges' critiques. "In general, constructive criticism is very important. That's how you grow as a designer," he explains.
What he learned from "Project Runway," though, was that he did his best not bending to other people's expectations. "I think you should really just stay true to yourself no matter what. It's not about pleasing everyone. You just have to go with your gut and your sixth sense and be yourself and don't get scared. That's the winning combination."
Sholokhov has a very clear vision of what his look is like, which he articulates very easily. "My look is very sharp, powerful and modern, but it's timeless at the same time because I don't run after the trends. I deal with the timeless pieces that a woman can build her wardrobe with - modern but at the same time you can wear in 20 years."
That's definitely a sign of confidence. Following his win, Dmitry says he's hoping to get his own label off the ground. "I definitely would love to start my own brand," he says, "but to start a brand it's a lot of work. First of all I need a business partner and I definitely need an investor, and hopefully everything will come together and by next fall I will show my new collection."
Did Dmitry deserve to win? Who were you rooting for in the "Project Runway" finale?