Ashley Nell Tipton

Ashley Nell Tipton

She has it all sewn up! San Diego’s Ashley Nell Tipton, Project Runway’s first plus size fashion designer, is working on new projects since taking top honors in Season 14 of the hit Lifetime TV show. Her colorful, feminine collection, inspired by Mexico City in the 1950s, featured fanciful flower headpieces, flowing skirts with flower appliques, pencil skirts and lacey crop tops. Raved judge Nina Garcia of Marie Claire Magazine: “You did something that was not expected, and fashion is all about the element of surprise. This was a courageous and brave move. You were playing with forms that are considered taboo for the full-figured women. But you did them splendidly. I celebrate your conviction.”

Ashley Nell Tipton

Tipton, who earned a degree in fashion design from Fashion Careers College, credits her late, beloved grandmother for her success. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here right now,” she said after her win. “I struggled so much, and designing was my outlet. And I thank her for showing that to me, that it is OK to be different.” (www.ashlynelltipton.com)   ANDREA NAVERSEN

Ashley Nell Tipton

Ashley Nell Tipton