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Project Runway’s Christopher Collins Returns to His Hometown

Christopher Collin’s white-walled, fabric-filled San Francisco studio furnished by a soft nude couch and design table has long been deserted since the beloved local artist left in June to compete in Project Runway’s eighth season. The charming, blue-eyed designer recently came home for a hot second to promote his entire collection at Neiman Marcus in Union Square. We managed to steal him away from fans for a few minutes to talk about his experience on Project Runway, why he loves San Francisco, and how his dreams are coming true faster than he can blink.

How does it feel to be back in San Francisco?
I'm really glad to be home. I absolutely love New York. It's so inspiring and you feel the sense of why fashion is the center as your cross the bridge from JFK into Manhattan. That skyline just screams power. But then when I get back to San Francisco and I see the skyline of my city—bay, trees, mountains, ocean—it just feels more relaxing and I remember that SF has so much to offer. It really confirms why I'm a San Francisco designer.

On Project Runway, you don't have any connections with the outside world. How do you deal with that?
It's true. You're away from your friends and family the whole time. Nothing is private and you barely get any alone time. I'm a runner, and I begged them so many times to go for a jog, but no, they keep it really controlled. It almost feels like a science experiment.

What’s it like behind the scenes?
The truth is, we were all friends with each other. There are dramatic moments because we are living and working together for days and weeks, often for 18 or so hours a day. You forge relationships quickly. Of course, bitchiness comes out and people get into little catfights here and there, but then you get over it. It's a lot like family.

What was your favorite part of the experience?
I haven't actually said this before, but one of my favorite experiences from this was that I had a group of people who I could always talk about clothing construction with. Lining, diagonal boning, center seams—it's all fashion jargon that a lot of people would find really boring.

Do you design with the San Francisco woman in mind?
Oh yeah. I am so proud of being a San Francisco designer. The fashionable woman in San Francisco is comfortable, confident, and has a creative way of dressing. Neiman Marcus picked up the line for its San Francisco store, which is a dream come true.

Christopher Collins' line will be on view at Neiman Marcus through October. 150 Stockton St., neimanmarcus.com