Former Project Runway designer taps into her creative side

Kristin Haskins-Simms is not what you imagine as your typical reality television show contestant.  Her experience on cable TV’s Project Runway hasn’t changed the Philadelphia native, but has opened creative channels for the designer.

Television’s long coat tails

In her small but meticulously decorated apartment, Haskins-Simms says excitedly that fashion boutiques have been ordering her collection, Regal Warrior, which, much like the plaid Elizabethan collared shirt she is wearing, features frilly, puffy necklines and sports the somber, muted colors of the military.

She also shows off flowing, yoga dresses, a shiny-red cocktail dress and a jacket made from a pair of men’s pants, size fifty, which had pockets so big she decided to stitch one onto the jacket’s back for an…Ipad? “Now that we have Ipads, your Ipad can kinda fit back here!” She says enthusiastically.  Kristin Haskins-Simms is an all over the place, a creative force.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Living in Mt. Airy

What inspires her work most about her home city is the parks. Wherever she is in Philadelphia, she’s grateful that she can always hit a trail. She loves the diversity of Mt. Airy, “When you’re walking down the street, even though it’s sort of quiet, all of a sudden you see nature!”

She’s always aiming to take a piece of everything around her and put it into her work, which lately has been her clothes designing business but in the past she’s taught various arts at numerous colleges in the area as well as very successfully worked for herself as a graphic designer.

Getting on Project Runway

She got onto Project Runway in 2010 because another Rhode Island School of Design alumnus who was on the show encouraged her. Haskins-Simms didn’t think she was a TV person but began and even though she was eliminated in the fourth challenge, ended the competition confident and grounded in her abilities, which are many.

Off the runway

One of the Haskins-Simms’ most impressive endeavors is a book about women in Pennsylvania who have done extraordinary things. The coffee table book, of which Haskins-Simms is the art designer, features lawyers and council women. She says the book was “really meant for girls ages 11 to 15 to inspire them, that you can be a lawyer, that you don’t have to be a Beyonce or Kesha or whatever these girls are called these days!”

Now, not only is she still designing, but she is working on a screenplay about women in a community who utilize a dog park to share their secrets and form bonds. She doesn’t see any more reality television shows in her future. What she would like to do next is teach high school or elementary level students that they too, can have careers in the arts.

You can check out Kristin’s clothes on her website.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal