From Utah to Project Runway

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Erin Robertson, winner of Project Runway Season 15, is not your average designer. In fact, it was never a future plan of hers to become one. 

Robertson grew up in Provo, Utah.  She described herself as a “rugged little kid” who loved to go on adventures. Her childhood is thanks for her ambition to be adventurous. “There’s a lot of things about Utah that I look back on and really admire,” said Robertson. 

When she wasn’t hanging out on train tracks, she was being exposed to sewing. Both Robertson’s mother and grandmother introduced her to sewing. Robertson never thought of it as creating fashion, “but simply just creating clothes.” 

Erin first began sewing for herself in junior high school. The first thing she made was a pillowcase, said Erin, while laughing. “There was nothing fashion-wise to see in Utah.”

Fast forward to a few years, Robertson decided to drop out of high school. “School was not for me”, she explained. At 18 she decided to move to Boston and has lived here for the past 12 years. 

Robertson attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she studied fashion and fiber art. There are no art schools in Utah that she was aware of, so she entered art school with the question “what is this world of art vs. fashion?” 

Ever since college, Robertson has balanced both art and fashion, since art can’t always make money – clothing can.  Erin believes that the problem with fashion as a career is that it can be very challenging. “I’ve never viewed it as a career path, it’s really difficult to be a fashion designer in the world right now,” said Robertson.  

Three weeks after graduating college, Erin auditioned for Project Runway.  Auditioning for the show was supposed to be a joke, with no intentions of making it through, let alone win. “Project Runway was both an amazing, as well as the hardest experience I’ve ever had.”

Erin never expected the positive feedback that she has received since winning, people would message her on Instagram and tell her how they were inspired by her to become a fashion designer.

“I’ve been that person on the other side,” said Robertson. “You already get made fun of and that you’re never going to get a job, let alone establish your own business.”

Project Runway taught her to be OK with making  mistakes. You did not have time to stress over a mistake; you just had to deal with it.

Robertson is currently working on producing new designs in her studio located in the South End of Boston. They are ready for purchase on her online site.  Although, the studio is located in Boston, she does not feel limited to the area.

“I don’t think of myself as a Boston-based designer,” said Robertson.  “If I had a store front, I would feel limited to Boston, but because I have an online store I have people who buy stuff from New Zealand, Switzerland, and France.  It’s crazy.”

Robertson is not only known for the garments she designs, but also her own personal style. She simply describes her style as “so weird.” And really depends on her mood because her style can range from “slutty,” to outfits that make people say, “what are you wearing and why are you doing that?”  

Robertson is certainly not your average designer. “I’m all over the place,” said Robertson, while laughing.  


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