Houston's Chasity Sereal is having a Project Runway moment. (Photo by Ramona Rosales/Bravo).
Designer Chastity Sereal designs show-stopping pieces meant to be remembered. Photo by SeanColeman713.
Brides flock to Chasity Sereal for glamorous, non-traditional wedding gowns. (Photo by Saba Design Studio)
Chastity Sereal's wedding jumpsuits are a favorite among brides and bridesmaids. Photo by Harbor Grace Photography.
Sereal’s designs often include intricate hand embroidery and embellishments. Photo by Harbor Grace Photography.
It’s as though Chasity Sereal was always meant to be on Project Runway. Before she ever auditioned for the Bravo reality show, the designer was unintentionally fashioning her own kind of challenges. As in, she needed something to wear to a party happening that night, so she designed and sewed a glam gown for herself. In six hours.
Sereal’s style is anything but basic, and her designs often include intricate hand embroidery and embellishments. Being chosen for Project Runway may sound like a case of fashion kismet, but don’t let the high-profile television appearance fool you. Behind the glam gowns and voluminous sleeves, there’s substance too.
Paper City spent some time chatting with Sereal before tonight’s Thursday night premiere of the new season, and although she has to stay contractually mum on any show specifics, Sereal did get into what made her decide to take the leap and audition.
“I’d always been a fan of the show and I was trying to figure out my next steps,” she says. “My finances propelled me to audition, and I decided I just had to boss up and do it. I have a competitive spirit and the determination to get things done.”
Sereal filmed this new season of Project Runway (Season 19 for the show) last spring and went in with a game plan, competing against what judge Nina Garcia calls, “the most talented group of designers we have ever had.” Sereal ended up in the bottom three of tonight’s season opener, but she barely survived to reality TV live on to design another day. At least until next week’s episode.
“I had to go up against so many fashion voices that I definitely had to think on my feet,” Sereal tells PaperCity. “I just wanted to give the judges my best.”
Chasity Sereal launched her namesake fashion line in 2009, without any formal cutting or sewing experience, and credits YouTube videos for teaching her the mechanics of design.
“I attended YouTube University,” she quips. Legendary designer Alexander McQueen is an inspiration touchpoint, but Sereal has always been clear about her design direction.
“When I was trying to find my footing, I knew I didn’t want to do ready-to-wear,” Sereal says. “I want my pieces to tell stories. I want them to be remembered.”
Long gowns, cocktail dresses, structured suits and billowing capes are just a few of her signature designs. And the detail work.
Lots of painstakingly perfect beading, lace, sequins and feathers adorn many of Sereal’s gowns, particularly those she designs for her bridal clientele. It’s a robust business, giving women the opportunity to wear the dress of their dreams, especially in a post-pandemic wedding season.
As a mother of two daughters, Sereal also hopes the pieces she designs are ones mothers will hold onto and pass down to their own children.
This native Houstonian is part of an elite group of local designers who have appeared on Project Runway. She joins Season 2 winner Chloe Dao and Season 18 competitor Alan Gonzalez as Houstonians who appeared on the show. Gonzalez didn’t win his season, but he currently hosts Project Runway Redemption, a spinoff show.
“Houston has that can-do spirit, and I thrive within that spirit,” Sereal says. She’s also shown her collections at New York Fashion Week in 2015 and 2017, so the return to New York for Project Runway just felt right.
“There’s nothing that can prepare you for Project Runway, but I love the energy of New York,” Sereal says.
Sereal likes to create a bit of magic with each piece she designs, allowing the women who wear her clothing to make a statement and feel empowered. That sounds like just the right vision for a successful spin on Project Runway too.
New episodes of Project Runway air every Thursday at 8 pm on Bravo.