Interview with Christopher Straub
Tell us a little bit about your background and the community where you live.
Lifelong artist and creative-type, I’m a Minnesotan through-and-through. I do a lot of public art and work to support my fellow designers.
How did a guy from Minnesota end up on Project Runway?
Applying for Project Runway season 6 was really to use the experience as a launching-pad for my business … which it did! My goal was to not be the first designer eliminated and, to my excitement, was the first challenge winner. I continued on to the final challenge and was eliminated BUT brought back to help the final three designers sew their collections for Fashion Week. So, by the end of it, I was on all 14 episodes that season which was great publicity to move ahead in the fashion world.
Photo: Project Runway 2009
Your career seemed to take off after your appearance on Project Runway. What doors opened afterwards?
Having appeared on an award-winning reality show gave me the push I was hoping for. Following PR6 I’ve worked as a guest designer for the clothing store maurices, collaborated with Target and Yoplait, launched my own brand of accessories and become the go-to-guy in the Twin Cities for product development.
Photos: Maurices 2011
In the St Paul-Minneapolis area, you’re kind of a celebrity. How has the local media embraced you and your work?
I knew the key to my success would come from the fact that I stayed local. Because of that, I’ve been fortunate to work with all of the Twin City’s media and have a great relationship with them. I do a lot of local TV spots and enjoy being featured by any press outlet that will have me.
Apparel designer, bag maker, children’s author, illustrator, and toy designer – what’s next? Which of these occupations do you like the best?
I have ALWAYS been a diverse designer and enjoy working on multiple projects at one time. I think each one helps me focus and it would be hard for me to pick a favorite. I hate being bored so I keep myself busy while always imagining what could be next.
What’s the story behind your inside out bears?
I had traveled to Mexico for a vacation a while back and bought some fabric (as designers do) and it just sat on the shelf for the longest time. I thought “today, I’m gonna do something with this material … perhaps a bear.” Since I like to do things a little different, I thought that if I make it “inside-out” with the seams on the outside it would have a vintage look… and that’s how the Inside-Out Bears were born! Soon after, I was getting special requests and folks sending me clothing to make memory bears to honor a loved-one.
Photo: Inside Out memory Lion made from shirt
You’ve volunteered your time to do charitable work. Can you tell us about it?
I love working with charities and non-profits to design products and help raise money for worthy causes!
Photo: Making masks for healthcare workers
Describe a typical day for you. What about free time – what do you like to do?
A “typical day” does not exist in my world. Most days consist of anything from this list: Press interviews; making custom products; packing a shipping; product development; product photography; posting content on social media; sourcing materials; acting as a sounding-board for other artists. I’m a one-man company and take pride in being involved in every step of the operation.
How were you introduced to OLFA? Are there any in particular that you love best?
I can’t imagine a time when I wasn’t using OLFA products! Long before my time on Project Runway (and even using my OLFA Rotary Cutter and mat on the show) I have been a fan. I am such a cheerleader for the rotary cutter with the ergonomic handle.
Photo: Dress in progress
Photo: Dress completed
Can you give us some tips on upcoming trends and fashions?
I imagine that post-pandemic America is going to get dressed-up and go out as often as we can. Suits and dresses, theater tickets, galas, vacations are what I’m predicting.
What book is on your nightstand?
I’m not a novel reader but I just bought a book about the history of toy manufacturing … does that count?
Fill in the blank: When I’m creating a project, I like to _____.
I like to imagine the finished project. Kinda like an architect, I do lots of illustrations to work out any issues before starting.
Photo: Illustration to final product
The Minnesota State Fair is a big deal. Do you go? What’s your favorite food on a stick or activity?
Since I was a baby, I’ve been going to the Minnesota State Fair every year! Actually, they invited me to have a booth at their famed Grandstand in 2020 but … well, the pandemic put an end to that. I’ve already signed-up for 2021 so I’m hopeful it will happen this year. As for food, I need Battered Australian Potatoes and a rhubarb shake from The Dairy Building. I don’t think I could eat an entire bowl of Cheese Curds but I will definitely “try” a few of yours. :0D
Instagram: @schmistopher and @InsideOutCritters
Web Site: www.ChristopherStraub.com