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Angela Sum in "Project Runway 2014"
Angela Sum Project Runway 2014
Angela Sum from "Project Runway 2014" is one of the contestants in Season 13 of the Lifetime reality fashion design competition series. She is a 32-year-old designer who currently lives in Los Angeles, California, but grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Here is an interview with Angela Sum:

Describe your family.

We were an Asian immigrant family, so there were definitely challenges. My mom has worked in garment manufacturing factories all her life. It's very hard manual labor. I got my work ethic from my mom. While my mom worked hard to make sure our necessities were met, finances at home were still tight, and I learned to support myself financially growing up. So I was very practical and independent in my teens.

Current occupation?

Computer engineer/programmer. Just recently left a job doing technical work for an investment bank.

Past jobs?

My first job was when I was 12, packaging sweaters for pennies at a factory. By the time I was 18, I worked 80 hours a week doing miscellaneous jobs to save up for my first year in college. I've done everything from odds and ends in garment factories to waitressing, sales, filing, etc.


I had a miniature dachshund growing up, but none at the moment. I jokingly tell my hubby we are going to have 30 puppies one day, like that episode of "Family Guy."


Asum, a nickname from uni friends (or college friends — we Canadians like to distinguish university and colleges). It was my school user ID. They thought it was funny because in Cantonese, it sounds like the term you call old aunties.

When did you realize you had designer potential?

I always knew I was visually creative since I was young. It was the one thing I did not struggle with. I won numerous art awards growing up (I recall one of my art teachers got mad at me when she found out I was going into computer engineering instead). I wanted to be a designer since grade school, but I didn't pursue it until I was 20. But even then, that was on my own. It was only when I showed my portfolio for a FIT entrance interview in 2008 and got great feedback and encouragement that I knew I really I had potential.

First garment you ever made?

Some cheap poly organza tube-top with a bow in the back.

What's your design training/schooling, etc.?

I took miscellaneous courses at night when I could in Toronto during my computer internship semesters at Humber College and Ryerson University. But mainly I learned on my own through my own projects to start. When I moved to NYC, I started taking night classes at FIT. In 2009, I enrolled at FIT full time, for a one-year accelerated fashion design associates degree.

Have you won any awards for your designs/work related to design?

Outstanding Design in Draping Specialization in FIT 2009. I also won a finalist spot at the Charleston fashion week 2012 Emerging Designers Competition, where I got to present to fashion giants like Anne Slowey and Fern Mallis.

Strengths as a designer?

Creativity, editing.

Weaknesses as a designer?

Perfectionism, over-thinking, confidence at times. My brain gets the best of me.

What are your influences?

Some years ago, I had a lot of anime influences. You can still see some of these angular design details in my work today. Now sometimes I'm influenced by very romantic things, from a certain image to music. I also love to give a bit of abstract art feel in my clothing.

What's playing on your iPod when you're designing?

I listen to some Asian music (K-pop, J-pop, Chinese, Taiwanese) as well as mainstream R&B and hip-hop.

Favorite material or fabric to work with?

At this very moment, washed cotton twill.

Item you're most proud of designing?

My finale dress at Charleston Fashion Week. Another designer sweetly told me it was the most beautiful thing she's ever seen in real life.

Favorite designer(s)?

Stella McCartney, Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen.

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Where does Angela Sum live? Find out here.

Age: ∼34 years old
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA

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