When our First Lady Michelle Obama stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention in September wearing a pink toile and blue-gray custom Tracy Reese frock, the designer knew that business was about to change—for the better. “More people are aware that we exist and want to know what we do,” the designer said during a special Project Runway screening of the episode she was a guest judge for airing this Thursday at 9pm on Lifetime. And of the now infamous dress? “We’re down to a few pieces, random sizes,” Tracy Reese said.
That exposure provided a big boast for Reese, who thinks the same can be said of the platform Project Runway gives it’s designers. “I think the challenges are not what we go through, day to day, but I think they strengthen them,” she told Glam.com at her store in New York City. “It’s like a trainer pushing you, you might not like it at the moment, but you realize, hey, I can do this!”
There has been a push in the fashion industry (model Chanel Iman speaking out on her experiences, most recently) for more diverse runways, a sentiment that Reese agrees with. “I feel a responsibility to myself, I’ve always had a diverse runway. There are all kind of women who buy and wear my clothes, I want them to see themselves on my runway. I think that’s important,” Reese told us. “But also, it’s such a pleasure tailoring looks to suit different types of women: different skin tones, different heights, different types of hair, different eye colors, different walks, different personalities, that part’s cool. But it takes a little while to figure out–it’s a good challenge.”
All in day’s work for Reese who makes its a point to take her vitamins with a glass of water before she goes to bed, getting ready to do it all over the next day.