Designer Korto Momolu became a fan favorite when she appeared in 2008 on the fashion-based reality competition show Project Runway. This season the Liberian native, whose successes include an accessories line in Dillard's department stores, is doing back-to-back fashion shows — Sept. 9 at New York Fashion Week and Sept. 10 in Washington, D.C.
She chatted with The Root recently about how she continues to make a name for herself in the industry and her stint on the popular TV show.
The Root: You've been very visible and seem to really be making a push to get your name and work out there. How has that been going, and what are some of the challenges you've faced?
Korto Momolu: The challenges are countless. As an independent designer, there will always be obstacles in your way, from financial-investment opportunities to manufacturing issues. My publicist has been very instrumental in making sure that my name, which is also my brand, is always visible. It's a struggle, but when I read the feedback from fans and supporters all over the world, it motivates me to keep pushing — no matter what.
TR: In hindsight, if you had it to do over again, would you still do Project Runway?
KM: Yes, I would. It provided a platform for my work to be seen by millions, and the experience made me a better designer.
TR: How would you describe the Korto style, and how have you shaped that for your Spring 2012 collection?
KM: The Korto style is for every woman. I love colors and I'm inspired by different cultures. This Spring 2012 collection is inspired by Japanese traditional wear. It has my signature flowing and drape concept to accommodate various body styles. You'll see bold print and solid vivid colors.
TR: What's the story behind the back-to-back shows in two different cities? Is it two different collections?
KM: The back-to-back shows weren't planned that way. The D.C. event was moved up one week. I had been initially contacted to be the co-host of the event, along with Nigel Barker. I decided to show my collection because D.C. has been a long-standing supporter, and the fashion industry in D.C. is growing with the help of the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce. When I was told of the back-to-back dates, I had to make it work for those that support me in the Washington, D.C., area.
Karyn D. Collins is a contributor to The Root.