In the next Spotlight Series we are featuring the extremely talented Tieler James! At the age of 14, Tieler starred on Project Runway: Threads. Then he came back at the age of 17 to be on Project Runway Junior Season 2 and made it to the top 5! He even has his own namesake line, Tieler James. Get the inspiring interview right here!
You have accomplished so much and your talent is so inspiring! When did you know fashion was your calling?
I never really knew fashion was definitely the thing I should be doing until after Threads. I was always afraid of being rejected in any field I was in so Threads really just gave me a confidence boost!
You learned to sew with your grandmother and got your first sewing machine at age 7! What was the first thing you ever made?
I learned to hand sew from my grandmother at 5 but I taught myself to machine sew at 7. The first thing I ever made was a little dress for a McDonald’s happy meal teddy bear, it was the purple one that was based off of Grimace. Don’t ask me how I remember that I just do.
You competed in “Project Runway: Threads” at the age of 14 and won your episode! Can you tell us what that experience was like?
Honestly, winning Threads really changed my life. Before Threads I never really knew what wanted to do exactly and after that I just knew that this (fashion) was my calling.
You returned again in Project Runway Junior Season 2 and made it to the top 5. How would you say that experience was different from the first time?
Junior was way more different than Threads in terms of Junior was way longer filming wise and also I went into Junior really knowing my design aesthetic whereas in Threads I was still really trying to find who I was a designer and even as a person. In the end I was way more comfortable in myself as a person and as a designer on Junior.
Your vision is to design for women to make them feel strong and beautiful. Did a particular experience lead you to this? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It wasn’t necessarily a certain moment in my life it was just that women have always been a huge part of my life and they have ultimately saved my life, so I feel like its just necessary to respect them and put them on a pedestal. I draw my inspiration mostly from women in history but also from art and my surroundings.
I see that you’re showing at New York Fashion Week in September! That’s so cool! Can you tell us a little about the collection you’ll be showing?
Thank you! The collection’s based off a short story called The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The story is about Postpartum Depression in the late 19th century and I want to bring that into how women were treated in the 1950’s in terms of child birth. Also, I want to bring in the idea of how gender is translucent to me.
What is it like studying at the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts?
Studying at NOCCA is honestly really cool. It’s really nice to be around creative minds everyday and to be able to vibe with them.
Where do you see you and your designs in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself and my designs doing the same thing, just on a way bigger scale. I love what I do but I want to be bigger and better than what i’m doing right now.
Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion designers?
Listen to your instincts but always challenge yourself. If you’re doing the same thing over and over again you wont get anywhere.
Tieler James is an extremely talented and inspiring designer. We can’t wait to see where he goes. Be sure to follow Tieler’s journey in the fashion world on Instagram @tielerjamesdesigns, tielerjames.com, and twitter @designertieler.