By Joyce Sotter

She is beautiful, sophisticated, young and is building a career in a city where any designer would dream of, which is nothing less than New York City. Layana Aguilar, one of the designers competing at Project Runway TV Show (*2013), is a native Brazilian who has been living in the US for 10 years. Born in Governador Valadares and raised in Nanuque, a small town in the state of Minas Gerais, Layana chose New York City to follow her dreams and study Fashion Design.

Graduated at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the college of Michael Korz, Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein and many other celebrity designers, Layana has won the Hilton Hollis Award and is quickly becoming a well-known Fashion Designer. We, Brazilians, always cheer and hope for our fellow people to succeed in America, especially when it is a TV show of such magnitude. Needles to say that we are very proud of Layana Aguilar who has shown Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Zach Posen that she is not there by accident or just to play a game.

Layana Aguilar is excelling with her ideas and designs. Her sensual and elegant mixture when making her clothing has put her on the top every episode. The romantic, but sexy and elegant style of Layana’s clothes just makes me want to wear anything she makes. In addition to help bringing her team to the winning group, She won the entire challenge in the third episode, and her outfit was selected to be worn by the employees of SPIN New York, a ping-pong restaurant owned by a movie star, Susan Sarandon. We had the chance of speaking with Layana Aguilar, who besides being extremely talented, is a lovely and distinctive Brazilian.

SB – Many designers are inspired by something when designing a clothing line. Are you planning on creating a line and what’s your inspiration?

LA – My brand is called Layana Aguilar New York and will beImage Layana Aguilar 3 available in selected stores of Brazil and NYC. My process of designing begins by allowing everything around to be a source of inspiration. My designing is really an expression of who I am. Most of my influences come from within… from my emotions, my feeling, struggles, accomplishments… from life and all that is happening to me and around the world every day. From there, I just start sketching and creating my work with a focus in mind.

SB – How do you put your Brazilian flare into your designs? Is there a mixture of NYC and Brazil in your work?

LA – My work has a very strong influence of both Brazil and New York combined. I use a mixture of the best of both cultures: the sophistication and simplicity of New York City and the sensuality and femininity of Brazil.

SB – What’s your major concerns when making your clothes? What do you try to accomplish and what do you try to avoid?

LA – My goal as well as my main concern as a designer is to inspire many People through my work. I long to bring beauty, to enhance personalities and to add power to the women who wear my clothes. As nurturers, I strongly believe that women have a unique ability to care, share and make the world a better place. Women who inspire are women who are making a difference. I tried to avoid things that I don’t believe in will compliment a woman’s body.

SB – Let’s talk a bit about your participation In the “Runway Project”… in the episode themed Flower and Hardware, how was that experience for you? Did you know what to design right away? What did inspire you to make that beautiful dress?

LA – I loved that challenge! It was my favorite by far. First of all, I am very inspired by the beauty of nature and combining it with hardware materials just made it even more interesting. I knew what I wanted to do as soon as we arrived at the Hardware store. I wasn’t sure how I was going to create the metal cage, but after looking at what was available to me it was quite easy to figure it out, and the rest became just the perfect marriage of the most unconventional materials to create magic!

SB – You always seem very calm during the show… we can’t read whether you’re nervous or not. Are you always fully prepared for every challenge?

LA – I always finish, but to say that I was fully prepared is a bit impossible with the timeframe we are given. I always try not to panic because It would just make things worse. They haven’t shown it yet, but there were many challenges where I was sewing until the last second. For example, The Miranda Lambert challenge, my original idea for her dress was going to be a lot more interesting than what I was able to accomplish. There is just not enough time for excellence under those circumstances! But one can learn a lot from it as a designer.

Image Layana Aguilar 1SB – Do the show producers ever ask you act differently in the show? Do you feel like you are portrayed on TV in the way you are in the real world?

LA – No. We don’t have to act differently than we normally would, but you have to remember that we are not living under normal circumstances while filming the show. Project Runway is a fun and creative competition, but at the end of the day it is a reality show. The producers and editors have the power to only show what they want, which makes it more interesting for the viewers. It does show a lot of our personality, but it doesn’t portray anyone as to how we really are outside of that environment.

SB – Since you started the show, has anything changed in your life?

LA – Yes! I think it is very fun that my friends and family can see me on the show. I also have had the opportunity to meet great designers, make new friendships, and have the exposure for my clothing line and my work as a designer. There will be a lot more to come…

* Joyce Sotter is a Brazilian from Sao Paulo living and studying in NYC. She has a Bachelors in Portuguese/ English Literature. To follow her on Instagram @VERIFIQUE

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