Dmitry Sholokhov lives to design beautiful clothing. Growing up in Belarus, he competed in ballroom dancing and would design his own costumes. After moving to New York City at the age of 18, Dmitry enrolled and graduated from Parsons School of Design, earning his BFA in Fashion Design. The designer has made three appearances on Project Runway, winning both Season 4 and Season 10 of Project Runway: All Stars. His sophisticated, architectural aesthetic impressed even the harshest critics. In talking about his designs, Heidi Klum said they were “wearable and polished,” while Nina Garcia called them “highly editorial.” Dmitry was also just named Designer of the Year by Metropolitan Fashion Awards.
We asked Sholokhov about his creative process, staying inspired, and what’s next.
Hometown / Favorite Food / Guilty Pleasure:
New York / Fish / Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Ambitious, Persistent, Reliable
What is your biggest inspiration?
I feel like inspiration changes all the time. What inspired me yesterday does not necessarily inspire me today. Today, I am inspired by what’s next.
When did you first get interested and passionate about fashion and style?
I never chose to be a fashion designer. I feel like I was born a fashion designer. Since I can remember, I was sketching and designing. By age 6, I knew that I would be a fashion designer. My dad is an artist, so it’s in my blood.
Design comes naturally to me. When most people see a general picture, I see everything in detail, and I can’t help it. All of that detail becomes an idea, and that idea develops into something more substantial.
How do you describe your design style?
Style is something that constantly evolves and changes with time, but there is always a core or a signature, something you were born with that never changes. It’s hard to describe because it’s something that has always come naturally to me. No matter what I do, it’s always elegant and unique, without being strange or crazy. I create wearable art.
Tell us a bit about your creative process. How do you create a collection?
Everything starts with an idea and inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere: architecture, nature, people, or any form of art. I put my idea on paper, and I start to develop it by sketching other ideas that come from that initial idea. Then I edit it, and voila, I have an original idea. I’ll then expand that idea into a collection. And, of course, there is the whole other process of constructing 3D models and prototypes.
You’ve made three appearances on Project Runway. What was your highest high and lowest low?
I have talked so much about my time on Project Runway in previous interviews. To summarize it all, it was an amazing experience. It pushed me to the limits, creatively, emotionally, and physically. I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of creating under a tremendous amount of pressure and insane time limitations. I’m grateful for this opportunity that changed my life forever. I think it is so important to have platforms like that for artists and designers to express their talents and inspire others.
What advice would you give other young designers hoping to make it in the fashion world?
Always stay true to yourself and your vision. Be your own critic, but also listen to constructive criticism. Keep evolving and reinventing yourself.
What does the future of fashion look like to you?
I think fashion will be greatly affected by technology. More and more technology will be introduced to fashion and the way we shop. Innovations like automatic climate adaptation garments and battery charging pockets will be a significant part of mass-market fashion.
2019 has been a busy year for you. You made your third appearance on Project Runway All Stars and Metropolitan Fashion Awards named you Fashion Designer of the Year — what’s next?
This year was pretty incredible so far. The next step for me is to meet a strategic business partner. Someone with vision, knowledge, and a strong business sense. With the right business partner, the sky is the limit.
**Disclaimer: Some of Dmitry’s responses have been edited for length or clarity.
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