Age: 30. Lives in: Palatine. Claim to fame: Creative director and founder of womenswear line AgainstAllOdds (Againstallodds.us), founded in 2012. The beginning: Hargrove has always been into art and fashion, particularly sketching and painting. “I wanted to design, but I didn’t know what went into it,” he says. “I thought I could just do these drawings and someone else [would] make it.” His own way: He started college as a fine arts painting major, but dropped out to teach himself how to design. “I took a couple of construction courses to learn how to use a sewing machine, but as far as design is concerned, I’m not especially scholastic. I’m an artist — I don’t like a lot of guidelines. YouTube taught me how to make clothes.” The first collection: After working as a wardrobe stylist for a few local modeling agencies, Hargrove saved up enough money to launch his first line. Soon after, he was picked up by New York-based incubator program Nineteenth Amendment. “It was a validation,” he says. “As soon as that was done, I thought, ‘People seem to like it, so maybe I can do this.’ ” The aesthetic: Minimalist. “I don’t like to throw a bunch of stuff on the pieces,” he says. “Right now I’m into this big shapeless [movement] — A-line or shift pieces. I like the Olsen-twin style. An oversized T-shirt worn as a dress is a great look.” Big break: In March, Hargrove got a call from a “Project Runway” casting producer, asking him to apply to be on Season 15. “I submitted the application [after they called] and in one day, I got a return phone call to go to the casting,” he says. “I showed up with a pair of pants, a couple of dresses and some crop topsI got three unanimous yeses, which on the show doesn’t usually happen.” Hargrove will be the only Chicagoan to appear this season, which premieres Sept. 15. Modern muses: “I’m a very easily inspired person,” he says. “I could be shopping at Walgreens and I’ll get inspired by something silly. I did a collection once that was completely based on a black-and-white picture of an albino peacock.”
Tune into the premiere of “Project Runway” on Lifetime Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.
Photo by Ramzi Dreessen