‘Project Runway’ Contestant Alan Gonzalez Is A DACA Beneficiary Fighting To Be America’s Next Best Fashion Designer
Project Runway debuted it’s 18th season this past week. The fashion reality show, looked quite different this year with the departure of longtime host Heidi Klum and beloved mentor Tim Gunn. In fact, only judge Nina Garcia remained of the reality competition show’s original staples. Supermodel Karlie Kloss filled Klum’s high heels, while former “Project Runway” champion and current fashion powerhouse Christian Siriano took up Gunn’s helm as a mentor to the designers. One of the contestants is Alan Gonzalez, a Mexican-American fashion designer from Houston, Texas who is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.
Houston might be getting another “Project Runway” winner this season.
It’s been 15 years since a Houstonian stole the spotlight at “Project Runway.” Texas-native Chloe Dao won top honors in season 2 of the fashion show, way back in 2004. Now another Houstonian is following in her footsteps.
Alan Gonzalez is one of the 16 contestants who is hoping to take home the top designer prize.
The 25-year-old designer got off to a rocky start as the judges dissed his work. However, he did get a lot of air time to show his ability and fast quip, and we’re ready to become his fans.
Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Gonzales represents so many Latinos living in the U.S.
Gonzalez was born in Mexico and immigrated to Houston from the northern city of Monterrey when he was only 3 years old. He was 15 when his father was deported, leaving his mother a single parent of two alone in Houston. In high school, he started to develop an interest in fashion, and he designed his best friend’s prom dress.
Gonzalez decided to pursue his love of fashion and make a career of it.
Gonzalez entered the fashion design program at Houston Community College in 2012 and after graduation, he launched a label called Alantude. “So much attitude, it’s Alantude,” reads his Instagram bio. His line is inspired by strong women with the most inspiration coming from his mother, the strongest woman he knows. Alantude is a mix of clean lines and pops of color, just enough to draw the right amount of attention to his customer. His ultimate goal is to become a household name and to empower women everywhere. Here’s a fun fact, his hometown has officially proclaimed Nov. 7, “Alan Gonzalez Day.”
Not only is there one, but there are two Latino designers participating in “Project Runway” this season.
‘Celestino’ Sergio Guadarrama, a 36-year-old designer from Austin, Texas is another Texan in the running for the best fashion designer. His designs are ethereal, celestial; a place in fashion where regal grandeur intersects with modern sophistication, his very own name ‘Celestino’ fits his celestial clothes very aptly.
Sergio “CELESTINO” Guadarrama is one half of the duo behind the label.
Celestino and Kade Johnson together, create the world of CELESTINO with precisely crafted, eco-conscious and fashion-forward women’s and men’s collections. Sergio and Kade pride themselves in using their creations to convey messages that inspire others to take a stand for social causes. They embrace the culture of the LGBTQ+ community and aspire to be positive role models within the fashion industry. They make a conscious effort as a company to be inclusive to all individuals regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, and donate time and a portion of their profits to humanitarian organizations.
Celestino Couture’s designs are so show-stopping, they’re already recognized in the couture scene.
Just this year, Broadway star Billy Porter wore custom Celestino to the Tony Awards. The “Pose” star’s custom red velvet look, created by Celestino Couture, was described by the designer as a “gender-fluid evening suit.” It shimmered with over 30,000 Swarovski crystals. It had another layer of significance as well since it was made from a salvaged curtain backdrop from the Broadway production of “Kinky Boots,” for which Porter won the 2013 Tony for best actor in a musical.
Sergio Guadarrama and Alan Gonzalez are both gifted Mexican-American visionaries, and their stories represents many of us.
Our cultures transcend current borders, and to see Latinos make space for themselves in an industry that lacks diversity and representation makes us beyond proud.