Get Stuffed.

Korto Momolu: Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady – Part 1

Korto MomoluAs Heidi Klum famously says about the finicky world of fashion, “One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” This could not be more true than for Liberian born designer Korto Momolu who was “out” a total of three times on the Emmy Award Winning Project Runway. Korto was a fan favorite and standout designer on her original season (5), designing that unforgettable seat belt coat that guest judge and celebrity-stylist-turned-fashion-designer, Rachel Zoe went “bananas” over. And who could blame her? Korto’s handling of this unconventional material proved she had the chops to win it all, which she almost did. Korto made it into the finals, showing her collection inside the tents at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. But to much outcry from fans, Korto placed second. Not too long after, Korto headed back to the Runway to take part in the first ever Project Runway All Stars special, All Star Challenge. This single episode predates the full season version of All Stars which has become a regular addition to the PR franchise. And once again after proving herself as the designer to beat, Korto placed second for the second time. Who could forget the heartbreak felt when Korto lamented to her family who were awaiting the results of her final critique in the green room how she was destined to be runner-up on Project Runway.

Korto Momolu Seatbelt Coat TweetTo her fans, however, she was certainly number one. They didn’t forgot her, and they didn’t forgive PR for keeping Korto’s due from her. So it was with great pleasure and surprise when Korto Momolu returned to the runway that had given her the back of its hand, twice. She did it for the fans, of course, as she so lovingly said during one of her personal interviews on the most recent season of All Stars. They never gave up on her, and this time she was caged for the win. With a huge following on Twitter, Korto live tweeted the highs and lows of her second All Stars stint. #TeamKorto became a loyal group of devoted followers and supporters, of which I am a part. We rooted, we cheered, we tweeted! Each week we filled the Twitterverse with excitement and fanfare as Korto made it one step closer to the finale, and when she beat out another fan favorite, Christopher Palu, for the third and final spot in the finale, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. This was it; third time was surely the charm.

Shea MoistureMuch of the criticism that has been given about Korto, and the believed reason for her lack of winning Project Runway, is that her designs are too ethnic. Not universal enough. This, of course, suggests a much larger bias at work, one which thumbs its nose at fashion seemingly aimed at ethnic and multi-ethnic women. However, if this criticism was ever a handicap in the past, it surely would be Korto’s saving grace the third time around: The final challenge was to design a collection inspired by the designers’ country of origin. This challenge seemed almost tailor-made for Korto, who created an elegant, sophisticated collection of clothing emulating the colors, prints, and styles of Liberian fashion. As much as we hoped, as much as we prayed, as much as we tweeted–the unfathomable occurred. Korto Momolu placed second for a third, and most likely, final time. The devastation from #TeamKorto could be felt all across the Internet. Maybe Korto really was destined to be Project Runway‘s number two. Yet, even though she may have been “out,” she was never down. With her army of loyal supporters behind her, and a terrific group of sponsors like Shea Moisturizer, White Mountain Shoes, and ZAAF(TM) as the wind on her back, Korto Momolu went from Project Runway to her own runway, showing her Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, “Urban Coup,” during New York City Fashion Week. And true to form, #TeamKorto was there to show their Momolu some love…

1 Comment