Since his SS12 collection “Lost World” debuted at New York Fashion Week fans have patiently awaited the next masterpiece from the style maverick, Mychael Knight.

Whether you remember his Southern charm and that magnetic smile from Bravo’s ‘Project Runway’ (Season 3 finalist) or his fashion savvy commentary as a guest on CNN, HLN and on the red carpets of BET Hip Hop Awards and BET Awards, Mychael Knight will always be a ‘Fan Favorite.’

Just look at the celebrity roster he’s accumulated over the years: Toni Braxton, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson, Kelly Rowland and Khloe Kardashian to name a few. He’s come a long way since his humbling road of designing prom and party dresses for local fashionistas. Mychael Knight’s signature dresses are unique, exclusive and if nothing else, they totally make a fashion statement. If you’re a follower of his work you remember the Internet frenzy he caused when his signature dress line, Two2 was launched in 2010, it was refreshingly genius!

But besides launching MAJK, his signature unisex fragrance, Monsieur, and a Men’s furnishings label all while maintaining his label –Mychael’s fashion platform to educate others around the country, at universities or in his hometown of Montgomery, AL about the fashion industry has been remarkably successful.

So as Mychael Knight prepares the creative touches on his A/W 2014 collection, RowASeat1 had the amazing honor to catch up with him and talk a little fashion … Check out the exclusive interview below.

RowASeat1: When did you fall in love with fashion?

At the age of 9, I decided I wanted to be a designer. My parents were very vital in this decision. They supported & nurtured my choice. I was also encouraged in high school by an Art teacher who caught notice of my design eye & created a special studies class.

Designers such as Gianni Versace, Todd Oldham, & Byron Lars all helped shape my aesthetics. After college, I moved to Atlanta and began to do freelance design work for record labels & artists such as Jagged Edge, Ciara, & Keri Hilson. After many hard working years of that, the opportunity of Project Runway came about and, as you know, the rest is history!

RowASeat1: Let’s talk about your latest project, Fashion Fortitude; tell me the idea and/or purpose behind it.

In my own personal experience, I’ve had very little examples of how to navigate the world of fashion as an entrepreneur. I experienced so many pitfalls and failures, yet managed to rise and make things happen successfully.

After Project Runway, to this day, I’ve had dozens of designers, stylists, and other beginning fashion professionals ask, “How do I make it?” Due to the need and thirst for the knowledge, I decided to create “Fashion Fortitude: An Insiders Guide To The Fashion Entrepreneur.” It’s an A-Z’s on how to successfully approach and manage to be a fashion professional as an entrepreneur. My hope of doing this is to help individuals avoid the ups & downs of this tough and unforgiving business.

RowASeat1: What are your thoughts about the state of fashion and the lack of diversity on the runway, in Ads and designer presence?

MK: I feel that people of color, Black people, in particular, are definitely underrepresented in ALL areas in fashion. Considering that we (Blacks) are some of the highest consumers of fashion, you would think designers, magazines, agencies, & etc. would consider including us.

I don’t know if it’s fear, lack of interest, or the combination of the two; that keep the fashion industry stuck in the antiquated idea of “Black doesn’t sell.” I do know, as a Black designer, that I have made my own personal mission to include my own. To give opportunities to models and designers who are otherwise ignored. In addition, WE AS A PEOPLE need to support our own and create our own opportunities and avenues to celebrate and support our fashion talents

RowASeat1: While designing, do you ever experience ‘creative blocks,’ if so, share with us what methods work well for you?

MK: I definitely experience “creative blocks!” Any creative person that says they don’t, is lying! (Laughs) The best way for me to battle it is to not push it, let it go. Ignore it. Eventually, something happens and VIOLA, magic!

RowASeat1: Use this moment as your platform to encourage someone to follow their dreams – What do you say?

MK: My advice is simple – know yourself … as a person and as a designer. Confidence (in both) is king.

Want to stay in-tuned with Mychael Knight? You can always check out the site here and follow him on IG & Twitter: @mychaelknight. For more information about ‘Fashion Fortitude,’ check out this awesome video below …