GREENVILLE — A fashion designer raised in Darke County soon will appear on a nationally televised series, competing with 15 others for a $250,000 grand prize.
The 17th season of the Bravo series “Project Runway” premieres Mar. 14 with Tessa Clark of Cincinnati, formerly of Greenville, putting her fashion designs to the test.
Supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss joins as host with former Project Runway champion and celebrated CFDA fashion designer Christian Siriano as the mentor. ELLE Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia returns as a judge, along with famed fashion designer Brandon Maxwell and journalist and former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth.
Clark’s mother instilled a love for fashion in her from a young age, and her passion continued to grow into adulthood after she began to collect fashion magazines in junior high school. She received a bachelor’s of science degree in fashion design from DAAP of the University of Cincinnati before embarking on her professional career.
She is inspired by her rural Ohio upbringing by her father, a miller, and her mother, a potter. She created her womenswear line “Grind and Glaze” as an homage to the most influential people in her life. Clark’s designs are ethically crafted in Cincinnati, and the line embodies a story of creativity, purpose and imagination. She describes her aesthetic as minimal, elevated casual-wear and unrefined luxury.
Clark spoke with The Daily Advocate on her upcoming appearance on the show and her future plans if she wins.
What got you interested in fashion?
“I’ve always loved fashion, but grew up with a fine art background. After studying graphic design at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Design school, I missed the hands-on tactility of fine arts and decided to switch my major to fashion design. I view fashion as art — a way to express an idea via your own body.”
What/who are your fashion influences?
“My mother inspires me often. I tend to pull inspiration from my upbringing at Bear’s Mill and creating wearable, timeless clothing.”
Describe the process you took to get a spot on Project Runway.
“I always thought it would be fun to be on Project Runway, but never applied or considered applying until a friend forwarded an email that they were looking for designers in Cincinnati! I reached out to request information, and a couple months after that I found out I was one of 16 designers!”
What are your plans if you win the competition?
If I win Project Runway, I would invest in sourcing sustainable and ethical materials and production for my brand, Grind and Glaze. It’s important to me to work towards maintaining a sustainable and ethically sound business.
Clark added, “I can’t wait to represent Ohio on this amazing platform! To follow along my processes, aesthetics, and inspiration follow me on Instagram @grindandglaze, and to shop my designs visit grindandglaze.com and idlewildwoman.com”
For a sneak peek at the upcoming season of Project Runway, visit https://bravo.ly/2Ufl3iQ