If you’re a fan of Project Runway, you most likely remember Samantha Black from season 11. The spunky 29-year old designer won viewers over with her youthful and innovative designs. She even managed to make it to the top five of her season. Now, after almost five months since the show’s wrap, Black (based out of Brooklyn) is still proving she has what it takes to be a major contender in the fashion industry. She’s dressed celebrities like Kelis, Elle Varner, Brandy and Keri Hilson. Now she’s taking her business to a whole new level. EBONY.com had the chance to sit down and talk with Samantha about her career following Project Runway, her journey as a designer, and her plans for her SS14 collection.

EBONY: How has Project Runway changed your career?

Samantha Black: Life has been interesting! It’s nothing like what people would think. I had tried out for Project Runway many times before. And when I finally got on the show and went through the whole process, it was definitely nothing like I expected. I now have to work harder than before. Being on Project Runway definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things and made me realize that I needed to make a lot of changes if I really wanted to create a brand. Before the show I really was just winging it. After the show, I basically started from scratch—restructuring the brand, getting everything made professionally, and going to trade shows. I’ve made a better business.

EBONY: When did you really decide you wanted to be a designer?

SB: I started when I was 11, and when it was time to enroll in college, I chose a fashion program. After college, I worked for several companies that allowed me to focus on designing. One of the companies I worked for actually closed down, and sometime after that was when I was able to focus on my own line and started designing my own things. 

EBONY: What is the inspiration for your designs? Who do you design for?

SB: I’m inspired by culture. I design for the girl who is a little artsy and funky. She likes to stand out. I like to make my clothing so that everything is comfortable, but still stands out in a major way. I also use a lot of menswear elements in my designs. I’m into small, special details that take the pieces to a whole new level.

EBONY: You are currently working on your SS14 collection. What can we expect to see from you for Spring 2014?

SB: A lot of sporty details. I used a lot of different fabrics like silk and charmeuse and I tried to mix in a lot of little details.

To find out more on Samantha Black and her collections, visit her site and follow her on Instagram. 

-Imani Kai