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Sanjia Williams: From the Classroom Studio to Project Runway

By Meghan Sapienza

“Lasell College alumna, Sonjia Williams, became a fashion success overnight. Williams herself admits that “the entire Project Runway experience felt like a complete whirlwind!”

Ever since she was a young girl, Sonjia Williams, now 27, knew that she had a special connection to fashion. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Williams has already had an exciting career in the fashion industry, on a path that has taken her to a home in Woodside, New York. One of her many accomplishments was her participation in the hit television series Project Runway, for the tenth season. “It was not an easy journey,” revealed Williams, but it was one that she would not trade for anything in the world.

Growing up, Williams was attracted to every aspect of the fashion world and marveled at the idea of someday pursuing a career in the field. When asked about her own sense of style, Williams said she “does not really have her own look.” All that matters is that she feels comfortable and confident in what she wears. Eventually, Williams’ passion for clothing and fashion evolved into a love for fashion designing. Today, she said, “she cannot even imagine doing anything else besides designing clothes.” From the moment she realized fashion design was right for her, her family encouraged Williams’ dreams. The encouragement eventually paid off when she made the decision to major in fashion design at Lasell College, a school Williams fell in love with. She admits that she “favored the small, intimate size of the classes, how personal the professors made the lessons feel, and the vast array of opportunities the school had to offer,” especially in fashion. Williams never forgot the first jacket she made in a tailoring class at Lasell. At first she hated it, but at the end of the project, she realized she enjoyed and learned a lot throughout the whole tailoring process. Today, her favorite pieces to design are jackets and coats. After graduation, she never gave up her dreams of becoming a fashion designer.

One quality Williams embodies is ambition. “It is important to go out in the world and get what you want and dream of, because that is how one succeeds,” she said without hesitation. Williams described her beliefs as the motto she lives her own life by. According to Williams, she does not consider what she accomplished on Project Runway as something monumental in the fashion industry. To her, fashion de- sign is something she is passionate about. No matter what she encounters and how tough it may be, “failing is never an option,” proclaimed Williams. Even in the years after college, when Williams worked in retail to make ends meet, she never let her dream of becoming a fashion designer slip away. Today, she is always creating and thinking about future designs for pieces, because she is determined to keep on designing clothes for years to come.

To this day, it is hard for Williams to wrap her head around the fact that she was one of the contestants on Project Runway; “it all happened so quickly,” said Williams. From the time she found out she was selected to be on the show, she had little time to actually prepare herself for what she was about to encounter. One of her favorite memories from Project Runway was winning challenges. Williams explained that winning a challenge proved to her that the “judges actually admired her work.” Williams especially favors winning the baby challenge; “designing the baby clothes was an obstacle within an obstacle,” exclaimed Williams. She had never done anything like that before, so it was astonishing for her when she found out that the judges actually loved her piece and wanted it to be produced for Babies R Us stores. Even though Williams was the last contestant to be sent home before the finals, she made it farther than she ever dreamed she would, and she learned so much from her time on the show.

Currently, Williams is the head designer at a company in New York called ANNABELLE, carrying a line by Anna McCraney. She mostly designs outerwear and accessories for the company, and she is working on a new line for the ANNABELLE COLLECTION. Look out for Williams’ name in the future, and check out her style blog at http://hauteandlow.blogspot.com/.

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