Indiana State University Newsroom

Anthony Williams emcees ISU Fashion Design Showcase

October 20, 2010

Anthony Williams, Project Runway seventh season contestant, entertained the crowd as master of ceremonies at Indiana State University's Tilson Auditorium Sunday afternoon during the Fashion Design Showcase's "Runway to Success."

Fourteen designers from 7 years old to adult entered their fashions in the competition. The showcase was hosted by Psi Iota chapter of Beta Sigma Phi and by sponsored by the College of Technology and the department of human resource development and performance technologies and co-sponsored by Arts Illiana.

Edie Wittenmyer, project coordinator and ISU adjunct instructor of textiles, apparel and merchandising, said Beta Sigma Phi chapters across the United States typically host fashion shows.

"Our Psi Iota decided to do it a little different with a twist," she said.

They made it into a competition for designers of all ages.

"We wanted to help students and the community to get involved in textiles and fashion," she said. "And to let people know we have a program here at Indiana State."

It also meant bringing in a designer who has found success.

During a question and answer session with VIP ticket holders, Williams told of his background before he became a contestant on Project Runway. After he graduated from the University of Alabama, he moved to Atlanta because he knew he wasn't ready to work in New York. He began working at Neiman Marcus as an image consultant.

"That's where I found out I was poor," he said to laughter from the audience. "That's where I got my Ph.D. in fashion. You need to learn what sells."

He also designed gowns for celebrities who live in Atlanta, including Keisha Knight Pulliam and Nicole Ari Parker.

A friend of his recommended he apply for the Project Runway and sent him the application link. During the first interview, he said judges critiqued his design saying it looked like an Oscar de la Renta.

"I grew up in the Cooper Green projects," Williams said. "You say anything I've done looks like Oscar's done and I'm not going to be offended."

When he left the first interview, Williams said he thought he wasn't going to be selected. He soon received a call letting him know that he made it to the second round. After a series of call backs, he became one of contestants on the show.

"I was walking around with something so huge inside of me, I felt like I was ready to give birth," he said about that waiting period. "I was at work when I got the phone call that I was on the show. I was literally running through Neiman Marcus."

Williams, the only contestant to be fired twice in the same season of the show, designed the dress Heidi Klum wore on the April cover of Marie Claire magazine.

After his first elimination, Williams said he was happy as he could relax and sleep in late. Then the next day when he planned to do his exit interview, he found himself in a room with the producers, who asked him to go back on the show.

Williams has continued designing clothes and creating his brand since the end of season seven. He also serves as a fashion consultant for the VH1 pilot series Single Ladies. He also is busy designing a collection that will debut in March 2011.

"I think the cemetery is full of billion dollar dreams, of people who had recipes who could have been the next Mrs. Butterworth or poems or stories," he said in response to a woman's question about taking her life in a new direction. "We have to die empty from giving everything in this life."

Designers he likes include de la Renta, Christian Dior, and what he finds at thrift stores. He said he also likes clothes at the store H&M, which he then mixes with pieces he creates.

Williams also gave the mostly female audience clothing advice.

"Have any of you had your colors done? I wouldn't pay any attention to that," he said. "You put a color on your body and it makes you glow from inside out, why would you let someone tell you it doesn't look good on you"

He also offered another piece of advice.

"It's the fit that makes the fashion," he said, adding that clothes can fit without being too tight.

Tickets sold for fashion show raised money that will be used for scholarships and for the Council on Domestic Violence.

Contest winners are:
Youth (7 -11 yrs):
Winner - Claire Lueking of Terre Haute
Runner-up -Taylor Lueking , of Terre Haute

Jr/Sr High School:
Winner - Gwen Dugger, Terre Haute North Vigo High School
Runner-up- Carson Seprodi, Terre Haute North Vigo High School

Independent Adult:
DLANG, Indianapolis

D'Lamont (Derek Hill), Indianapolis

Anthony Williams speaking during the Fashion Design Showcase's "Runway to Success." ISU Photo/Bethany Baker

Carson Seprodi shows off her design using recycled materials including newspapers and pop tops. ISU Photo/Bethany Baker

A model shows off a design by D'Lamont. ISU Photo/Tony Campbell

Taylor Lueking, of Terre Haute, models a design she created with her mother. ISU Photo/Tony Campbell

Contact: Edie Wittenmyer, project coordinator and adjunct instructor of textiles, apparel and merchandising, Indiana State University, 217-251-3116 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or