By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO
Bishme Cromartie, winner of season 20 Project Runway- All Stars debuted his winning collection on Sept. 12 at the main stage of the coveted New York Fashion Week. The title of his winning collection is “Powering Through,” which is a testament to his strength of overcoming adversity and grief after his sister’s death.
“I’ve dreamed of winning Project Runway ever since I first saw Christian on his season,” said Cromartie.
The designer credits his late sister as one of his greatest supporters.
“I miss my sister so much,” he said. “Before she passed away she told me I was going to win. All I had to do is just believe it.”
“This right here just showcased to me everything that I have been fighting for is worth it…this win to my sister, my biggest fan– the first person who did not judge me for doing something outside of the norm,” said Cromartie. “She was there to allow me to blossom and fall deeply in love with my creativity. I know my sister is looking down and just happy and smiling from ear to ear. I promise I will never forget this moment.”
Cromarteie’s sister, Chimere Wall, died from cancer on July 24, 2022 at the age of 31.
“My journey has been a steady growth. It was very difficult for me to make it. It’s literally been two months and a day since my sister passed away,” Bishme said during the finale. “She was my inspiration and biggest cheerleader.”
The two were born and raised in Baltimore and grew up sketching fashions at the age of 8 under the tutelage of his Aunt who taught him the basics of sewing.
The Baltimore based designer graduated from Reginald F. Lewis High School in 2010 and went on to compete in Season 17, of Project Runway featured on the BRAVO channel and streaming on NBC’s Peacock network. Bishme came close to winning on Season 17 finishing in fourth place.
The finish did not stop Cromartie from pursuing his dream of becoming a high fashion designer. His designs have appeared in many of the top magazines including Vogue, Essence and Elle. Over the years since season 17, he has also dressed stars like Lizzo and K. Michelle.
“Over 300 winners have competed on Project Runway through its 19 seasons,” Nina Garcia, Editor-in-Chief of Elle Magazine and one of the judges said at the opening of the season for the
Project Runway season 4 winner Christian Siriano of Annapolis, Md. was the mentor to all the designers and host of the Project Runway After Show helping designers like Cromartie who took home $250,000, a feature in Elle Magazine and a mentorship with the Council of Fashion Designers of America after winning the latest competition. He is moving forward in the world of high fashion with confidence and grace.
“Giving-up is not an option,” said Cromartie.