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Jake Wall in "Project Runway 2015"
Jake Wall Project Runway 2015
Jake Wall from "Project Runway 2015" is one of the contestants in Season 14 of the Lifetime reality fashion design competition series. He is a 35-year-old designer from San Francisco, California. He was raised though in San Luis Obispo, California.

Growing up in a double-wide trailer in Northern California, Jake Wall inherited his upbeat, do-or-die attitude from his mother, who used to cheerfully put her kids to work — for free — at the student bookstore she managed. He went to business school and had a successful career in internet marketing, but after experiencing an "Eat, Pray, Love" moment on a trip to Singapore, he apprenticed with a tailor and returned to San Francisco to launch his own line of custom suits. A lot of Jake's designs are influenced by elements of pop culture from specific times and places.

Why will he win? Jake believes that his potential as a designer is only eclipsed by his fierce competitive drive. Even without a formal education at a design school, Jake has accumulated a plethora of awards for his work and plans on adding "Project Runway" winner to the list.

Jake's style icon is Ms. Piggy, while his favorite designers are Gordon Henderson, Marc Foster Grant, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Desmond Merrion, Thom Browne, and Neil Barret. Jake's favorite past "Project Runway" designer is Daniel Vosovic.

Here is an interview with Jake:

When did you realize you had designer potential?

I had a bit of an "Eat, Pray, Love" moment about five years back. Admittedly it lacked the grandeur of the Julia Roberts big screen version, but my adventure reminded me of how much I liked to "make things." Growing up my parents didn't believe in children in the conventional sense — we were a bit more like indentured servants — we had to have skill sets and contribute. Because of this I have known how to sew, how to cook, how to refinish floors, and how to rebuild engines on 1965 Ford Mustangs. Two of these things I appear to do better than the rest and so with a desire to make something really amazing, five years ago I set out to make a perfect men's suit and to make the perfect eggplant parmesan. I found I was much better at making suits. Then in late 2012, I was cornered by Betsy Nelson of the Fashion Incubator San Francisco who encouraged me to vie for a coveted spot amongst the coming year's "Designers in Residence." It wasn't easy to win the panel of judges over but I did and managed to hold my own amongst some truly amazing talents from some of the top design schools in the world including Parsons, Central St.. Martins College of Art and Design, Academy of Art and FiDM to name a few. I came in the underdog and left winning them all over in spades. One might argue that my potential as a designer is only eclipsed by my fierce competitive drive.

Have you won any awards for your designs?

2013 Designer in Residence at Fashion Incubator San Francisco; 2013 7x7 Magazine "Hot 20 — People's Choice Award Winner for Fashion Design"; 2014 Fashion on the Square "Giving Heart" Fashion Award Winner; 2014 Human Rights Campaign National Award Winner; Best Partner Award for "SUIT UP for EQUALITY" Fashion Design & Runway Show.

Strengths as a designer? 

I was not traditionally (scholastically) trained as a designer and so much of what I know how to do feels, at least to me, necessary because it was learned more on the job and as needed. I wasn't trained in a manner that had a "curriculum" like structure. Instead, I was taught more on a "need to know" basis and as such sometimes I am not aware of how much I really do know… nor what I am missing. This creates a double-edged sword. My mentors like to jokingly say I am strong in what I do because I wasn't ruined by a fashion school. Because of this, I tend to see rules as nothing more than guidelines and do love to break them whenever and wherever I can to surprise people. As a designer I really do simply feel and see what comes naturally to me and then I endeavor to put it out there in the world come hell or high water. 

Weaknesses as a designer?

I have no patience for anyone who doesn't realize just how lucky they are to be working in this industry and making a mark (however small at times) when so many other designers dream but never get to a point to attempt. Because of this, I can be very dismissive of people who don't work exceptionally hard as I really do feel that just means they lack work ethic and don't want it "bad enough." All of this can be boiled down that I am a workaholic and can be design obsessed — but then again, obsession is not without its advantages.

Biggest fear as a designer?

Being irrelevant. Given that I strive to make clothes that matter… The inverse of making clothes that don't matter at all is an incredibly frightening concept and also an amazing motivator.

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

In late March a member of the casting team reached out to me and asked if I had ever thought about being on "Project Runway" to which my answer was a resounding, "NO." She asked if I had time to chat and was very encouraging. I made mention of it to my business partner and the team I lead at Artful Gentleman and they rallied me to toss my name in the hat. Next thing I know — and after a whirlwind process of interviews — here I am. Sometimes life is what happens when you are busy making plans…

Challenge you wish they'd bring back?

My dad was an auto mechanic by trade. Having the challenge of making something out the interior of a car would be a hoot and a half… especially if it was a 68 Camaro RS, the car that first made me love houndstooth.

Challenge you hope they don't?

Making clothes out of food. I like my edibles at the dinner table and not on my body.

What's your take on team challenges?

It's 50/50. It's a game of chance when it comes to team challenges — it would all depend on who I was paired with as I know I can and do work really well with others and I love to see what strong opinions in great collaboration can bring. But some people don't play well with others… some people run with scissors.

Do you think you can win "Project Runway"?

Of course I do… otherwise why would I be here? Though some may see my non-traditional fashion designer background as a gap in designing, I believe that it is my advantage. I see fabrics, designs, and clothing differently than most and am not afraid to experiment That is what this competition is all about. I don't create things just to have them shown on the runway and then stuffed away in a dark closet. I create things that inspire people to push their personal style and rock it with confidence — I'm more of a runway to real world guy and I think that's what the world is looking for right now.

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Where does Jake Wall live? Who is Jake Wall dating? Find out here.

Age: ∼36 years old
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, CA
Current Residence: San Francisco, CA

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