Who Is Renee Hill? New Details About The 'Project Runway' Contestant

Photo: bravo
who is Renee Hill

As Project Runway enters its 17th season, with new judges Karlie Kloss, Elaine Welteroth, and Brandon Maxwell, we don’t need to be sad about Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum not returning. Nina Garcia remains on the judging panel, and season four winner Christian Siriano will now be a mentor to the contestants. The series is also returning to Bravo for the first time since season five.

The series premiered on March 14th, and so far, three contestants have been eliminated. But for the remaining 13 designers, we’re certainly excited to see what the future episodes will reveal in terms of their creativity and skill. We love hearing the backstory for each contestant, and this season is no different.

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Who is Renee Hill? Here are five things to know about the high-end, ready-to-wear designer, how she got her start, and her journey to Project Runway.

1. Her mother inspired her.

Growing up, her mother was a seamstress who made bridal and ball gowns. This instilled a passion for fashion in her, and she would watch her mother make and design these outfits.

She was also surrounded by “bold fabrics and creative designs,” but has also drawn influence from living in New York, traveling around, and experiencing new cultures.

2. She got into the industry later in life.

While many designers begin their careers in their 20s or 30s, Hill decided to pursue her true passion when she was 47 years old.

After ending a 20-year marriage and raising nine children, four of which are her own and five who are her ex-husband’s, she enrolled in Moore College of Art and Design, followed by Made Institute, studying pattern making and tailoring.

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3. She has her own clothing brand.

Hill created Harx4, which she describes as a “luxury sportswear brand for both men and women... It’s a brand that focuses on free expression. What I try to do is spin sportswear in a way that people feel comfortable expressing themselves. I’m very visual, so textures are important to me. For example, I have a collection coming out called Dark Shadows that mixes textures to give the illusion of shadows,” she said.

4. She eventually decided to go on Project Runway.

But she didn’t want to participate at first. “A friend of mine sent in my name and the producers reached out to me via email. I was reluctant at first. I watched the show and thought, ‘Do I want the pressure and stress?’ But I knew that I wanted my brand to gain a substantial amount of traction quickly... So I decided this is a no-brainer and decided to just go ahead and do it,” she revealed.

And since she’s had that experience, she couldn’t be happier: “This is a platform for people to know who I am. For people to see me and know what I can do. It was truly an experience.”

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5. She’s Muslim.

And she’s used it as a positive influence on fashion:

“I know that Islamic culture has changed fashion and Muslim women have made tremendous strides through fashion. [Many] top designers are changing their collection to fit a more modest customer. But I have not branded myself as a modest fashion designer... I don’t want people to put me in this small box. If you put me in the box of Muslim fashion designer, then I’m on this platform of being a Muslim fashion designer and you will forget all about my fashion... When you think of Yohji Yamamoto or Eileen Fisher, you think of them as conservative, not modest. When you see my clothes, they are not modest. They are nice. They are stylish.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.