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





Twitter: @schmistopher

Instagram: @schmistopher and @InsideOutCritters

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