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Gabrielle Arruda in "Project Runway 2015"
Gabrielle Arruda Project Runway 2015
Gabrielle Arruda from "Project Runway 2015" is one of the contestants in Season 14 of the Lifetime reality fashion design competition series. She is a 27-year-old designer from Brooklyn, New York. She was raised though in River Forest, Illinois.

Gabrielle Arruda excelled while enrolled at Parsons The New School for Design as the number one in her class while studying abroad in Central St. Martins. Because she has such a knack for multi-tasking, Gabrielle calls herself a "one-man band," capable of doing it all. She's selling her clothes at boutiques throughout New York and at Anthropologie, which has only fueled the fire in this ambitious young woman.

Why will she win? Gabrielle's mantra is "walk softly and carry a big stick." She prefers to work independently.

Gabrielle's style icon is Leandra Medine, and her favorite designers are Simone Rochas, Olivier Theyskens, and Tanya Taylor. Gabrielle's favorite past "Project Runway" designers are Mondo Guerra and Helen Castillo.

Here is an interview with Gabrielle:

When did you realize you had designer potential?

I always had an interest in fashion design. However it was not until my senior year in high school when I was deciding on a school that I realized it was my passion. I had a difficult time imagining myself in a traditional school focusing on academia or medicine like my family had anticipated. After I was accepted into Parsons, The New School for Design. I knew my fashion path was set and that I was making the right choice. My mom says she knew I would be a designer after I made my own pair of high heels when I was child. So, perhaps she foresaw my design goals even before I did.

Have you won any awards for your designs?

I was awarded the highest grade in my abroad program at Central St. Martins. I also competed with another Parsons student at a Louis Vuitton Design competition where we came in second. It was a project reminiscent of "Project Runway"; we were given a box of garments and given a time limit to create something quasi avant-garde whilst creating against several other teams.

Strengths as a designer? 

I am great at time management and designing pieces that reflect my style and accomplish the task at hand (i.e. the challenge, or the seasons' trends etc). I have a modern and feminine sensibility that I think I infuse into my designs, creating clothes that women want to wear. As a designer I also feel that I am organized and able to understand what my client wants and needs. I feel very strongly that as a designer I am able to give women clothes they want to wear, and create modern, unique silhouettes and details that make the garments special and memorable.

Weaknesses as a designer?

Every designer has their weaknesses. However I do not feel my design choices are my weakness, more so my confidence. Sometimes I have self-doubt and difficulty always standing up for myself. A designer needs to have a strong point of view and voice, and I believe I speak most clearly through my designs. It does become difficult when dealing with other industry people that require me to speak my mind or when it's necessary to "put my foot down." I feel that I sometimes lack the confidence to do so. I feel my voice is most strong through my designs, and I think my confidence grows with my success as a designer. Hopefully, with each collection my inner confidence can grow, and until then I can always "fake it till I make it."

Biggest fear as a designer?

My biggest fear as a designer would be to be misunderstood. It hurts to put so much time and energy into something and sometimes people just don't get it. It is a fear I obviously have had to conquer to be able to put out a collection each season. But, it still stings if people don't respond to a garment the way you had originally anticipated. 

How did you end up auditioning for "Project Runway"? 

Originally, one of the casting directors reached out and asked me if I was interested. At the time I was preparing for NYFW and was so swamped. However I was interested, so I asked to be notified for the next season. When this season rolled around, she emailed me and I am so grateful for it. I applied immediately and could not be more excited for such an amazing adventure ahead of me. 

Challenge you wish they'd bring back?

I am up for any challenge really. However, I hope my season has the avant-garde challenge (not that it went away), but it's a great opportunity to push my design skills. On a daily basis most designers, including myself, do not get the opportunity to stretch their design muscles and perspective and create such forward thinking designs. I think it's the perfect challenge to really test how much a designer can grow and push themselves. 

Challenge you hope they don't?

I am not looking forward to a makeover challenge, especially if the client has a huge say in what I design. I am all for designing for the everyday woman - I think that is extremely important. However each designer, including myself, has their own style and I think sometimes "making someone over" and my design aesthetic could have difficulty melding. Although, it is called a challenge for a reason and if I am given that challenge, I know I can find a way to tackle it. 

What's your take on team challenges?

Team challenges can pose some difficulties. It all depends on who is on your team and how well you can work together. I was always a leader in team projects growing up because I always wanted to be sure we were successful. However with such a strong group of personalities, I am not concerned necessarily about leading, but having all of voices be heard and respected. So overall, not my favorite. I would cringe if this upcoming season was all team challenges like Season 11. But I can handle a few group challenges.

Do you think you can win "Project Runway"?

I think any one of us could win "Project Runway." To me, it is all about strategy; this is a long distance experience, not a sprint. I will take each challenge one at a time, and hopefully make my way to the end. I believe I have the talent to win, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong along the way (fabric mistakes, hasty judgment calls, or even unexpected twists). So yes, I think I could win because I am a talented designer who is good with time management and I really just love what I do. I have the passion to win and hopefully the skill set to manage all the challenges and twists. But, with "Project Runway" you never know what is coming! So ultimately, I am just gearing up for absolutely anything.

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Where does Gabrielle Arruda live? Find out here.

Age: ∼28 years old
Hometown: River Forest, IL
Current Residence: Brooklyn, NY

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