Growing up in Philadelphia, Dom Streater’s family grappled with financial hardship. As she puts it, they were “by no means rich or well-off.” As a result, stylish clothing was a luxury she didn’t often indulge in, making fashion seem all the more glamorous. She began to sketch and design outfits in grade school.
“I was a very artistic child and my parents encouraged me to pursue that. So did my older brother, Sam. We have an almost twin-like bond. And my high school art teacher, Mrs. Chirlin, helped me hone and cultivate my talent.”
Dom describes herself as an “observer, not a speaker.” For this reason, she never envisioned herself in the spotlight and felt apprehensive about putting her life on display as a Project Runway contestant.
“It was a difficult idea for me to wrap my head around. My friend Jason convinced me to apply by helping me see how the benefits outweighed my fears. And I tried to follow the example of my mom, who is very outspoken.”
Competing was a demanding, and often emotional experience. When the contestants were tasked with designing a clothing line for the department store Belk, for example, Dom’s designs were ranked near the bottom, and she feared being cut from the show.
However, the rigor of the competition taught her the importance of perseverance and not giving up.
“As someone who has always enjoyed watching people, I’ve become very intuitive about others. And it’s important to follow those instincts when it comes to my work, as well. Often, your instincts are what lead you to success. Without them you’re just a follower—and followers never win.”
One of Dom’s most memorable experiences was her fist solo runway show during New York’s Fashion Week.
“It was empowering for me to hold my own in such a crazy atmosphere. I also loved being able to connect to the fans of my work.”
As the winner of Project Runway’s twelfth season, Dom’s designs are garnering attention from movers and shakers in the fashion industry. Going forward, she plans to continue creating garments in her signature style—bold prints inspired by retro fashion.
I find inspiration in everything. I try to look at the world through the eyes of a child. You need innocence when creating. Whenever I have trouble, I just meditate.
Her definition of a courageous woman…
She can be strong without being overpowering. Being loud is overrated and too common. I believe in being the “silent killer.”
On the rewards and challenges of her career…
I love waking up and creating something new every day that is an extension of me. But it is challenging to run a business. Balancing the two is an art form in itself.