An Exclusive Q&A With The Winner Of Project Runway

This just in—Ashley Nell Tipton is the winner of Project Runway season 14! And as the TV show’s first plus-size designer, this victory feels extra special. A fan favorite for her cheerful demeanor, love of color and unbridled passion for fashion, Ashley and her journey have been a blast to follow. This week, she dropped by the set of Fashionably Late with Rachel Zoe to chat with RZ, Kelly Osbourne and crew, so don’t miss the episode! To find out even more, we caught up with Ashley after the show—read on for more need-to-know facts on the newly crowned designer.

Ashley on the set of Fashionably Late with Rachel Zoe.

Predicting the future—a photo from Ashley's high school yearbook. Photo: @ashley_nell_tipton

When did you start designing and what sparked your passion for it?

"I started designing when I was 15. What made me passionate about it was my experience working at a retail store and not seeing what I liked. I put two and two together and realized—I can sew, and I can make anything I’m not seeing out here!"

Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

How is your aesthetic different from other plus-size designers?

"My vision is different because my designs come from my own individual inspiration and heart. I try to think outside the box, and since I’m a younger designer, I think that is reflected in what I create."

Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

What are your favorites pieces in your collection and why?

"The headpieces! They represent me in that they’re colorful and bright, and also reflect my Mexican heritage."

Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

What’s the most surprising feedback you received throughout your Project Runway experience?

"When Heidi stood up for me by saying that the girls were “nuts” for not picking me on the team challenge! I was so pleasantly surprised she had my back!"

Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

What would you like to see for the future of plus-size fashion?

"I want to see exciting, fun, trendsetting clothing for plus-sized women, and I hope that through my design career I am able to do just that. I want to change “plus-size” to be equal to everyone else."