Making the Cut
Since earning a coveted spot on Lifetime’s Project Runway: Junior, Manhattan Beach teen Matt Sarafa sizes up a promising future in the world of fashion.
Before we dig into this Season of Project Runway: Junior, let’s check in on your life as a senior at Vistamar. What’s going through your head as you get ready to graduate in a couple months?
I can’t wait to graduate high school and move on to even bigger things. Don’t get me wrong—I love my school, but I’m just super-excited to be able to devote all my time to doing what I love, which is fashion.
When did you first discover you had a flair for fashion?
I was 7 years old when I stumbled upon a marathon of Project Runway with my mom. I was immediately hooked, and here I am today!
Speaking of your mom, your parents must be proud of all you’ve accomplished in such a short time. Tell us about their support.
My parents are so incredibly amazing. They support me in all that I do, and they have encouraged me to go do what I love since I was little.
I watched your makeup tutorials online. How did those come about?
I have a YouTube channel called MakeupByMatt that I actually started a few years ago with two friends. I just kept going with it, and now I have over 20,000 subscribers. I love all things fashion- and beauty-related, so I try to share my passion and my personality through my videos.
Who’s your all-time favorite designer?
I really love Alexander McQueen. I love that his clothes are super-edgy and dark. More recently I’ve been loving Givenchy and Fendi for my personal style. I really appreciate designers that aren’t afraid to be bold and step out of the box.
How about your favorite up-and-coming designer?
By no means are they an “up-and-coming” brand, but Thomas Wylde is an amazing clothing brand that is on the rise now in the U.S. Their work has been featured in some of the top fashion magazines like Italian Vogue, and I’m super-fortunate to be starting an internship with them very soon. I’m actually going to New York to see their show at New York Fashion Week this weekend!
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m super-busy getting some Hot Mess merchandise up on my website. I know my fans have been waiting super-patiently on the release, but I just want everything to be absolutely perfect. Kelly Osbourne was even seen wearing my Hot Mess leather jacket! I’m also trying to balance all of this with school and friends, so its tough but I love it.
Ok, let’s talk Project Runway: Junior. Way to go representing the South Bay on an iconic show! How was the overall experience?
The experience was so amazing. I got to work with some major players in the fashion industry and, most importantly, meet 11 other designers my age who love fashion as much as I do.
What’s it like to have your every move and every emotion filmed day after day? Crazy pressure, right?
The pressure while filming the show is so insane. I’ve been watching Project Runway since I was 7, but it’s a totally different experience than what I was expecting. The stress really builds up, especially on elimination day, and it gets super emotional. But overall it was such a great experience that has really helped start my career.
Even though you didn’t get to the final, what did you take away from it?
Being on Project Runway: Junior reminded me more than ever how much I love fashion. It really inspired me to work even harder, and I feel like I came out of the experience as a better designer.
Is Tim Gunn as cool as we already think he is?
Absolutely. He’s really an amazing person. In person, Tim is exactly how he is portrayed on TV: kind, funny and very knowledgeable about fashion. He offers amazing critique, and it was such a pleasure to not only meet him but to get his opinions on my work.
Make it work, Matt.
For more on Matt, visit his website at mattsarafa.com.
In Manhattan Beach, the SKECHERS sign that graces the company’s first offices near the Pier is as recognizable as neighborhood staples like The Kettle and Beckers Bakery. Nearly two decades after Michael Greenberg, his father and brothers launched a shoe business from their summer home on The Strand, he discusses the commitment, community and enduring family spirit that guided SKECHERS to become an internationally successful brand born in the South Bay.
It started in the middle of Jeff Bridges’ acceptance speech for Crazy Heart. Then I heard there was a remake of Big Valley in the works. A friend persuaded me to join efforts to save American wild mustangs from slaughter. I seemed to be nursing an inside longing to return from the blindingly instant world of tech relationships and business dealings to a simpler slower place.