Graduate Laurie Underwood to Compete on “Project Runway” Season 14, Premiering August 6

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Fashion

August 4, 2015

“At just 9 years old, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. Since then, I've stayed focused on my dream and aspirations to inspire and empower through style.” – Laurie Underwood

When “Project Runway” season 14 premieres August 6 on Lifetime, Laurie Underwood, who in 2006 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago, will be one of 16 contestants vying for the $100,00 prize. Laurie is the designer of the Wanda Grace fashion line, created “for the woman who has to work but loves to play.”

Laurie will have to impress celebrity judges Paula Patton and Tracee Ellis Ross, as well as Ciara, Mel B, Bella Thorne, Kiernan Shipka, Constance Zimmer, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen. The competition winner will earn $100,000 to launch his or her business.

Fashion as a Passion
“At just 9 years old, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer,” says Laurie. She pursued her love of fashion by enrolling in the fashion design program at The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago.

In her senior thesis class, she wowed her instructor and classmates with a beautiful women’s ready-to-wear collection. She admits that completing the collection wasn’t easy—but seeing the final product made her realize that she could succeed as a designer. “I've stayed focused on my dream and aspirations to inspire and empower through style.”

Her collection went on to earn The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago 2006 “Best in Show” award for graduate portfolios.

“Project Runway”

In her official “Project Runway” interview, Laurie explains that it took her five years to finally respond to the show’s casting requests. ”I decided it was time for me to stop playing it safe as a designer and take a risk. I’d never auditioned before, so I didn’t know what I was getting into. I just took a leap of faith, and here I am!”

Laurie says that her favorite challenge on the show is the candy challenge—and hopes that it returns for season 14. “I thought that was fun and creative, yet still challenging.” And she’s hoping that the competition stays away from menswear, joking, “sorry, guys, I don’t do menswear.”

Laurie adds that her strongest qualities are her belief in her abilities. “I have the drive and dedication to win. Many times, that’s all it takes.”

The Wanda Grace Collection

“Project Runway” winners take home a $100,00 prize to build a business—which would allow Laurie to expand her Wanda Grace collection.

She defines her fashion goal as creating looks that allow women to stand out, while fitting in at the same time—and utilizes this overarching theme as she designs for Wanda Grace.

“Wanda Grace is for those who are not afraid to embrace their style power. I love dresses, pencil skirts, color, and ladylike details. If you love the things I love, then you must meet Wanda Grace.”

Follow Laurie’s journey on season 14 of Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” which debuts August 6 at 9 pm.

The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago is one of The Art Institutes, a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Several Institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, 350 N. Orleans Street, Suite 136-L, Chicago, IL 60654. ©2015 The Art Institutes. All rights reserved. Our email address is

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Fashion

August 4, 2015

alumni Fashion fashion design fashion designers film and tv Project Runway tv