Peytie Slater designs her destiny on Project Runway: Junior


Sophomore Peytie Slater searches for the perfect fabric for her upcoming collection in the LA Fashion District. Slater will be showing her collection at New York Fashion Week as a finalist in the first season of Project Runway: Junior.

While many high school students strive to fit in among the crowd, sophomore Peytie Slater expresses her originality through her clothing. Slater always had an interest in fashion design, and this year she had the chance to take it to the next level, participating in the first season of Project Runway: Junior. The show airs Thursdays on Lifetime at 9/8c.

Slater’s interest in fashion all started with her want to send out a positive message. She used to fear standing out, but soon found a way to become confident through her clothing.

“Sixth and seventh grade were very hard years for me because I was super shy and didn’t have a whole lot of friends,” sophomore Peytie Slater said. “At the end of seventh grade, there was a shirt that everyone was wearing that said ‘You can’t sit with us’ and I wanted to fit in, but I didn’t want to wear a shirt with a negative message. I went home from school that day and made a shirt that said ‘You can sit with us’. I just wanted to get that positive message out so I started wearing it to school. People started asking me where I got it and then eventually I saw the other shirt disappear from my school.”

After realizing the popularity of her clothing, Slater stated her own fashion company called True Violette, which features “beachy” attire and bathing suits. Over the next couple years, she continued to grow her business to make it what it is today.

“I think she has been successful in fashion because of her talent as a seamstress and her unique style that everyone loves,” sophomore Grace Driscoll said. “Her company really reflects her personal style and is very different from everyone else’s. Her clothing is very colorful, which describes her perfectly.” 

When given the perfect opportunity to take True Violette to the next level, Slater took advantage of it, beginning her journey on Project Runway: Junior.

“Last April, my best friend’s mom mentioned how they were casting for Project Runway: Junior, and I have always loved watching Project Runway,” Slater said. “I thought there was a 0% chance that I would make it on the show, but more and more people kept asking me about it, so I figured I might as well give it a shot.”

“I think she has been successful in fashion because of her talent as a seamstress and her unique style that everyone loves. Her company really reflects her personal style and is very different from everyone else’s. Her clothing is very colorful, which describes her perfectly.”

— Grace Driscoll (10)

The process of auditioning for the show was long, but the thought of her dreams coming true kept her working hard.

“I had to send in a video of myself, a portfolio, I had to answer 100 questions about all the clothing I had, and I only had a weekend to do that,” Slater said. “Within a couple of days of sending all my stuff in, I got an email saying that they liked all of it and wanted to do a live interview. I was in biology when I got the email, and I couldn’t tell anyone about it but I was freaking out. A month later I went to L.A. and I had a live interview with former Project Runway contestants. After judging me, they said I made it to the next round which meant I was in the pool of getting on the show. A month later, I got the call saying that I made it on Project Runway: Junior.”

Slater’s experience with her company helped her trust her instincts during challenges on the show. Even though at times it was frightening, she overcame nervousness and stayed true to her self.

“I remember walking into the work room on first day and seeing everyone’s totally separate styles,” Slater said. “They were all making fancy evening gowns and I was in the corner making a super beachy, casual dress. It was so overwhelming and I remember thinking ‘I don’t want to go home the first challenge’. I feel like I had to stay true to myself and eventually I did learn that through the design process. Instead of changing my design style, I evolved it. Instead of being inspired strictly by the beach and the ocean, I have really branched out and I have found a new love for print. I have found that I am very inspired by other cultures such as African and Indian. If I would have changed my style to make it like the other people, I don’t know if I would have made it this far.”

Slater is not allowed to release to the public what hasn’t aired on TV yet, but so far on the show she has made it into the top four contestants. She also found ways to adapt her company based on her experiences on the show.

“After being on the show, I think I really found my design style and found out that I am inspired by different cultures,” Slater said. “As my design style changes, my company is evolving with it and will hopefully will continue growing in the next few years.”

Her journey on the  show has allowed her love for fashion to become a more significant part of her life.

“As soon as I started making my own clothes, I came out of my shell and I became my real self,” Slater said. “I want other people to feel the same way by wearing unique clothes so that they can break out of their shell too.”