When you think of Macy’s, you think fashionable, high-quality retail giant. When you think of Joshua McKinley… 26, fashion designer, reality star and runner-up of Project Runway Season 9, you think uniquely fun fashion. And when the two collaborated at Macy’s in Naples Coastland Center Mall, on March 24, for the 5th Annual ‘Find Your Magic’ Macy’s event, it ignited a fresh, provocative and innovative pairing certain to have a longstanding relationship. “I think they’re a great brand with a strong presence in the industry. I think they’re wonderful.” Joshua said.

Macy’s produced a spectacular fashion show incorporating the unique perspective from the Fashion Week NYC designer. This had the audience of loyal customers exhilarated with anticipation of meeting McKinley and to see what’s trending for this season.

 

Consumers were offered an amazing chance to interact on the stage as part of the reality-style take on the show that made Joshua a star. Contestants were asked to pick the best outfit from a rack of clothing to best suit a person perhaps going to a beach wedding of her friend or to a garden tea party.

“Confidence is an article of clothing, and without that nothing is going to look right”

 

The audience participation was as much a crucial contribution to the success of the event and was a fun highlight of the challenge. The crowd was enthusiastically amped about who would be the winner of a $100, $50 and $25 Macy’s gift card, by voting on various styles during three rounds of competition. The audience was also treated like personal guests of Macy’s as delicious appetizers were served, not to mention the chance to mingle with McKinley.

 

There’s no doubt Joshua has an affinity for being in the public eye, happily meeting and greeting his adoring fans. He is a natural star born for this industry and everything affiliated with it. His commitment propelled him to the final four contestants in Project Runway, allowing Joshua to pursue his dream of participating in Fashion Week NYC.

 

After leaving Ohio for college in NYC, Joshua said, “Ultimately, I got to NY and was not satisfied. I didn’t feel the buzz and energy of NY that I wanted because I wasn’t in the City. I’d heard of Fashion Institute of Technology. The name is prestigious around the country, so that’s where I landed.”

 

Apparently, it was the right decision and only a few short years later, the entire paradigm of his life shifted. Joshua seems to have become an overnight sensation, as an unconventional fashion designer he has a fresh approach to design and he’s not afraid to use it.

 

Initially, during the Project Runway competition, the major critique of his fashion forward runway designs needed editing, because in the judges’ eyes ‘less is more.’ They are the professionals judging the designs after all. McKinley thinks, sometimes, more is better.

True to form, he took the critiques making adjustments and edited his work still keeping true to the integrity of his creative fashion perspective. The unpretentious designer is more than capable of bedazzling and coloring outside of the proverbial patterned lines indicative of his unique style without seeming inauthentic. One of Joshua’s recommendations is that we all should “have a little fun with fashion! I love a little bedazzle moment.”

 

McKinley points out, “With clothing people can interpret their own individualism, putting things together and merchandise themselves. They can style in such a way that they say, ‘look at me, this is who I am’.

 

It’s a wonderful expression of fashion to view uniquely stylish, fun, yet wearable clothing either on the runway, in boutiques, or in City loft-style showrooms. He often tells people, “Confidence is an article of clothing, and without that nothing is going to look right.”

 

It’s no wonder Joshua is easily recognizable this early on in his fashion career, he is nearly mobbed wherever he goes because of his pleasing personality, his talent, his integrity and authenticity. “The demographic that the show reaches is insane; I mean, I have grandmother’s and young ladies come up to me who have seen the show.” He said, beaming with pride.

 

Joshua explained that for him the fashion industry means: “Designing, creating and experiencing new textiles and fabrics; pairing different textures most other people might not put together. I love a silk next to leather or a neoprene, which I always enjoy using – paint, and you know… bedazzling if you will.”

 

Whatsoever his motivation, McKinley is becoming an industry superstar. Being ever gracious, he is humbled by the thought and quickly professes, “I’m on the rise, trying to make it happen.”

 

Joshua is destined to have a design legacy for the ages. The interpretations of this visionary fashion virtuoso gives new meaning to Project Runway’s resident mentor, Tim Gunn’s famous encouraging phrase, “Make it work!”

Note of interest:

The rose Joshua McKinley wears in his lapel has become his signature accessory. “It’s actually historical based. President (William) McKinley, on my father’s side of the family, was the 25th President of the United States. Ohio’s state flower is the carnation. He always wore a red carnation on his campaign trail, so this is kind of my nod to my family lineage. “I love leather and I love roses, so I think it’s just something that’s become like this staple of a broach… on my lapel.”

 

Future Dreams:

Joshua wants to be a contestant on ‘Dancing with the Stars’. He said he wants to get his feet moving.

 

Word Association: Q & A

Q: Michael Kors

A: Hilarious

 

Q: Tim Gunn

A: Genuine

 

Q: Fashion Institute Technology

A: Difficult

 

Q: Project Runway 9

A: Eye Opening

 

Advice to fans:

Patience is a virtue; work hard; keep your eyes on the prize.