By Catherine Cheng, AKOM Writer
Matt Sarafa participated in Lifetime’s “Project Runway Junior” in November and December of 2015, finishing in a respectable 8th place. More importantly, he was able to foster his artistic aspirations and cutting edge fashion designs through the show. Read on to find out more about Matt’s style and his endless drive to create.
AK: What inspired your career in fashion?
MS: Watching “Project Runway” for the first time at age 7 really inspired me to pursue my newfound love for fashion. I had always been a super creative kid, but “Project Runway” exposed me to this whole new outlet I could use to express myself.
AK: Tell us a little about how you began designing clothes. How did you learn? How have you developed your skills?
MS: I began sketching at about age 7. Soon enough, sketching wasn’t enough for me so I learned how to hand-sew from my grandmother. I went on to learn how to use a sewing machine and started making my sketches come to life. The rest is history!
AK: As a designer, you likely have a unique sense of style. How would you describe your aesthetic and what type of clothes do you aim to create?
MS: I really like clothes that push boundaries. I don’t want my clothes to look like anyone else’s. I would describe my style as edgy with a little bit of an urban vibe. I love designing high fashion couture pieces, but more recently I’ve been playing around with some more ready-to-wear clothes for the everyday person.
AK: Have you experienced any obstacles as a designer? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
MS: I’m a perfectionist by nature, and it’s something I’ve definitely had to work on throughout my design career. Especially being on the show with such tough time constraints, I had to accept that every single seam isn’t going to be absolutely perfect.
AK: Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve designed? If so, please tell us the story behind it.
MS: I would have to say my favorite piece I’ve designed so far was a long black lace and leather gown for “The Queen Latifah Show.” To this day, I’m still so proud of how it turned out, and I feel like it perfectly captures my design aesthetic.
AK: You’re currently competing on Project Runway Junior. How has your experience been so far?
MS: The experience so far has been unreal. Just filming the show and getting to work with people like Tim Gunn, who I’ve idolized since I was 7 years old, was so surreal to me. So many opportunities have opened up for me because of the show, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
AK: What are the most daunting portions of the show? What about your favorite portions?
MS: The hardest parts of the show were definitely the eliminations. All 12 of us designers bonded super quickly, so having to see our friends go home every week was so tough. Going along with that, my favorite part of being on “Project Runway Junior” is the people I’ve met along the way. The other contestants are so talented and we still talk almost every day. Getting to meet some fashion industry icons such as Tim Gunn and Kelly Osbourne was so amazing too!
AK: What are your goals for the show? Do you think you’ll achieve them – why or why not?
MS: I’ve known ever since I was little that I want my own fashion and cosmetic lines. I’m a super hard worker, and will stop at nothing to achieve my dreams. I’m hoping the success of the show will give me a platform to help me get there someday.
AK: In your spare time, you also manage a YouTube channel where you post fashion tips and makeup tutorials. What’s your favorite thing about posting videos? Where do you find inspiration for new videos?
MS: I’ve been doing Youtube videos for about a year now on my channel MakeupByMatt (https://www.youtube.com/user/makeupbymattt) where I share beauty & fashion tips with my subscribers. I have such a deep passion for fashion and beauty, and I love sharing that with others.
AK: You’ve worked with charities such as Children’s Hospital LA, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Please elaborate on each charity and your work with them. Why is giving back important to you?
MS: Charity work is so important to me. I’ve been raised in a household where my parents put a huge emphasis on helping others. I love working with organizations that I have a personal connection to. Ever since I was born, my family and I would bring Christmas gifts to families with terminally ill children through Children’s Hospital LA, where my mom used to work. This past year, I was invited to design for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s annual ‘Project Nunway’ charity fashion show benefiting the LGBTQ community. I spent over 50 hours designing and constructing a dress out of hundreds of trash bags, and attended the fashion show in San Francisco. I had so much fun that now I’m starting to work on my outfit for next year’s show!
AK: What are your personal and professional goals for the future? In other words, where do you see yourself twenty years from now?
MS: My ultimate career goal is to have a successful fashion empire. I want to make a name for myself within the fashion community and show the world what I love to do. I want people to wear my clothes and feel good about themselves.
AK: What advice would you give to our readers about following their dreams and making a difference?
MS: Just go for it! Follow your dreams, work hard, and make them come true!
AK: Is there anything else you would like to add?
MS: Make sure to check out all my social media for the latest updates on what I’m doing! My website is www.mattsarafa.com and I’m @mattsarafa on IG, Twitter, and Snapchat!