Project Runway 5: Meet the Designer - Terri Stevens
Terri Stevens was sent home from last week's double elimination episode of Project Runway 5, narrowly missing her chance to show a collection at Bryant Park.

For a while in this competition, Terri seemed to be a potential front runner in many viewers' minds. We won't have the chance to see what she could have done for a full collection for Fashion Week, but was can take a look at what brought this designer to Project Runway.

Terri grew up in Chicago, and considers that city one of her influences. "Growing up in Chicago,” she has said, “I hung out with all walks of life and loved how everyone had their own unique style…I have incorporated all of that into my designs."

She attended Columbia College in Chicago, pursuing a degree in fashion design and merchandising. While at the school, she organized fashion shows, worked at a fabric store and met designer Barbara Bates. Terri started working for Bates, moving up to an assistant designer role. Terri's also worked for major fashion powerhouses like Nordstrom and Levi's.

Although this experience in the world of more commercial fashion has probably helped build Terri's classic American aesthetic, as we saw in the drag challenge (which many viewers felt she should have won), Terri also clearly has access to a less conventional visual vocabulary, and music appears to be just as much of an influence on her as fashion.

“I am rock and roll,” she had said of her style, “…if you'd throw Mick Jagger, Aerosmith, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, and Madonna all up in there, funking and break-dancing.”

Michael Jackson, in fact, appears to be a major influence, and Terri actually has been a Michael Jackson impersonator. She named her higher-end line “Michael Joseph” after Jackson, and points out how he's had an impact on the world of fashion as well as music and dance.

“I do think Michael Jackson has started a lot of trends that people don't give him credit for,” she says, “like the Thriller and Beat It jackets, the military gear he rocks, and his cropped pants with dress socks.”

She is also a big lover of house music and gets inspired by the creativity of fellow club-goers, and says “sub cultures are amazing sources of inspiration” for her.

Some of the other designers and viewers noted that she relied on pants for much of the competition, and she says that she is a tomboy who loves jeans and sneakers. But, she says, and as we saw with her drag outfit, “I can flip it all around and go Galliano/McQueen on you with the quickness.”

She's been a newcomer to loving Project Runway, starting to watch it in its fourth season, and was inspired to try out.

Terri now lives in Columbus with her Brazilian husband and works for Victoria's Secret as a visual manager. She also sells her clothes in some small boutiques in Chicago, and is currently offering a tee-shirt with her drag design. She just launched her website and so we will see more from the Project Runway designer in the future.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Sources:,, Blogging Project Runway,,,
(Images courtesy of Bravo and