She wowed us on Season 5 of Project Runway, designing her way to the finals and ultimately earning the title of “fan favorite”. Over the course of the show, Korto Momolu (pronounced Cut-toe), a native of Monrovia, Liberia, defined her perspective through bold, expressive creations inspired by her African heritage.
In addition to speaking engagements and television appearances, Korto has been hard at work in recent months on an accessory collection for Dillard’s. These affordable necklaces, bracelets, earrings and handbags pop with bright colors and exotic details. Anything less just wouldn’t be Korto.
We sat down with the designer in Fairview yesterday to discuss life, the new line and her take on why she didn’t win Runway’s top prize.
NBCDFW: Welcome to Texas! So, how’s life been since Project Runway?
KM: “It’s definitely a blessing. So many people go on that show and then they disappear. Not winning pushed me to work harder, to make sure that I paved my own way for my own destiny. I’ve been traveling, talking at a lot of schools, telling my story. I have a different story – I’m from Africa. It kind of uplifts people and shows them that when you think your world is bad, it really isn’t. Some people have to go through so much to get to what you are, being born here in America. “
NBCDFW: How did the partnership with Dillard’s come to be?
KM: “Working with Dillard’s is something that started actually before I went on the show…and then, when I came back, it was a perfect time. Definitely, my ultimate goal is to have my clothes [at Dillard’s] or in any store, but this is a great step because I’ve always done accessories.”
NBCDFW: What was your inspiration for the collection?
KM: “I like exotic things. I’m African, so maybe that’s why I’m attracted to things that are different. …I like bright colors, I think women should love to wear bright colors. Wearing black is great, but put something bright on that black to liven it up, so you don’t look like you just came from a funeral!”
NBCDFW: You are known for designing for ‘real women’. Do you think that the fashion world is becoming more accepting women of all shapes and sizes?
KM: “I don’t think the fashion world is, honestly. I think that, saying that, and I thought about it afterward, that’s probably why I didn’t win [Project Runway]. They’re not about that. They are still about size two and four. Even though Michael Kors sells a size 16 in his line, you’ll never hear him say it. It’s sad that it’s not something we all talk about in the industry. People want to feel like they have be a size two – like Heidi Klum – to be beautiful, and I don’t think that’s true.”
NBCDFW: You have a certain ageless quality about you. Any secrets you’d like to share?
KM: (smiles) “You still want to keep your youth, but there’s a way to do it without cheapening your look. I think it’s all in your presentation and your attitude. I’m really comfortable in my skin. I have accepted my body. I’m never gonna be, 5’9” and a size two. And I don’t think I want to be!”
NBCDFW: Finally, do you have a favorite from the current season of Project Runway?
KM: “I went to the finale show, so I saw their collections. All ten people that are on the show [presented a collection], because they didn’t want anyone to know. I think, right now, Jay. He had a really strong collection, and I think he’s doing good on the show. And Seth Aaron…he’s right up there in my top five, from his collection. He has a really strong point of view. And Anthony was surprising. I think I know who won, but I’m not gonna say!”
Shop the Korto Momolu Collection at Dillard’s and Dillards.com.