By Hilary Hagerman
What’s your style like?
ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: My personal style is pretty basic with a twist. I like to incorporate one ‘over the top’ piece on my daily outfits, just for fun. My design esthetic is similar and most importantly, I like to create designs that are wearable but still have the ability to stand out.
JESSICA BIFFI: My personal style is all about fun! I love colour, mixing things together, layers (I almost always have two shirts on) and professional nails are a huge accessory for me. I’m always rockin’ the three-finger knuckle ring and some big accessories.
SUNNY FONG: My style is influenced from anything I see. It does evolve, but the one thing that remains consistent is the balance of contrasting things, e.g. contrast between soft and hard lines, feminine and masculine, beautiful and ugly. It has to be sexy.
What was your time at Ryerson like?
ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: Times were tough at Ryerson. The fashion department is another world. Four years of really hard work — really, really hard work.
JESSICA BIFFI: I remember not sleeping much! It was a lot of hard work, but at the same time, I loved what I was doing so I always pushed myself. But one of the best parts was my classmates. We were there for each other, we gave each other the daily emotional pep-talk we needed and also went to Metro at 3 a.m. to get snacks!
SUNNY FONG: I went to Ryerson for film and it was a great place for resources in terms of facilities and information.
Do you miss university?
ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: I don’t miss school, but I do miss my classmates and all the late nights we had trying to finish crazy assignments! I also dearly miss my favorite School of Fashion technician, Audrey.
JESSICA BIFFI: I’m glad I went to Ryerson. It really was a challenge, but it did teach me a lot about myself. I learned not only from my profs, but from my peers. The sense of accomplishment once I had that diploma in my hands, after four years of serious blood, sweat and more tears than I care to share, was amazing.
SUNNY FONG: I miss not being responsible with real life bills and obligations. And I was young then, so I miss that too.
What did you do before the show?
ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: Before Project Runway, I was attending my school convocation and looking for a career — not just a job.
JESSICA BIFFI: I work for Addition Elle. I oversee the visual merchandising and am part of lower management for the two level flagship store in Toronto. I started working as the visual person when I was in my fourth year at Ryerson, and once I graduated started full-time and have been working up the ladder since.
SUNNY FONG: I am a lead graphic designer for 9th Sphere, a Toronto-based web company.
Who was your biggest competition? ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: Everyone, I am the underdog!
JESSICA BIFFI: I’m not a practicing designer and I’m going up against a lot of people who do this for a living. But I really tried not to focus on the others so much and do my best. Sounds cliché, but once the game starts to get to you it really messes you up. If I have to say one person, Sunny definitely is big competition!
SUNNY FONG: The judges were my biggest competition. With each designer you can gauge how or what they were doing to do to win, but the judges you never knew what they were going to do. Basically, how can you win them over? They were the most unpredictable.
What inspires you? ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: My family is my main inspiration for my designs. Everyone in my family has their own quirky individual styles that somewhat influences my designs. I am also inspired by world travel and diverse cultures.
JESSICA BIFFI: Music, people, friends, art, nature, politics, movies — this list could go on. I love to people-watch, I love to look at things in a new way and say “well what if it was done like this?” I will go to Queen West if I feel blocked and just look at the different and interesting fabrics and get inspired.
SUNNY FONG: Anything that I see that has some design in it, from architecture, home furnishings, books, magazines and of course, fashion.
What did you learn from the judges?
ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: Be confident in your work and don’t be afraid to defend it. You are your own advocate.
JESSICA BIFFI: They are not saying anything to mess up your A-game, they are telling you things that they feel will improve your design. I always found hearing from the judges to be helpful. You never like hearing that people don’t like your art, but it is a competition, and I did go to Ryerson — it was a little reminder of what critiques were like.
SUNNY FONG: They are genuinely nice people and they do know what they are saying.
Tell us about Iman.
ADEJOKÉ TAIWO: Iman is amazing, she exudes confidence and power. She knows what she wants and how to get it, and she is the perfect example of believing in yourself in order to be successful in the business of fashion. She reminds me of my mom.
JESSICA BIFFI: Iman is an icon! And a huge fashion legend — one that knows my name! That kinda blows my mind when I give myself a second to think about it. She has a lot to say and she knows fashion. And if Iman is talking to you, you betta recognize!
SUNNY FONG: She is gorgeous, wow! She is a very strong woman and that is a turn on. That makes her very sexy. And she has great taste.