Naval base in Japan plans evening vigil as one of its own debut on “Project Runway”

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Navy wife Katie Kortman shows off her design studio at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, September 30, 2021. She is a contender for the upcoming season of Bravo’s “Project Runway” fashion competition series . (Daniel Betancourt / Stars and stripes)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – A Navy bride is getting ready to compete on Bravo’s “Project Runway” and this base south of Tokyo will be hosting an evening vigil to support and celebrate its debut.

Yokosuka resident Katie Kortman, 40, of West Palm Beach, Fla., Will face 15 other designers in Season 19 of the Emmy Award-winning fashion pageant series. They will participate in a variety of challenges for a grand prize of $ 250,000 and a chance to show off a collection at New York Fashion Week.

American Forces Network and the Naval Base are hosting the night before on the second floor of the Yokosuka Officers Club at 7 p.m. Saturday, when the first show airs in Japan.

“We always seek to celebrate the accomplishments of our sailors, their families and community members where possible,” Base spokesperson Randall Baucom said Wednesday. “When we learned that Ms. Kortman was a candidate for this season’s ‘Project Runway’, we started looking for ways to recognize this unique achievement. “

A self-taught designer, Kortman recently told Stars and Stripes that the chance to appear on the show was a “life-changing situation” – one she didn’t even seek out.

From 2018, Navy wife Katie Kortman began posting photos of her fashion designs on Instagram.  In February 2020, a casting agent from
From 2018, Navy wife Katie Kortman began posting photos of her fashion designs on Instagram. In February 2020, a “Project Runway” casting agent asked her if she would consider auditioning for the show. (Daniel Betancourt / Stars and stripes)

Starting in 2018, Kortman began posting photos of creations she had made for herself on Instagram and quickly developed a following. In February 2020, a “Project Runway” casting agent asked her if she would consider auditioning for the show.

“I was like ‘Oh my god are you kidding? It’s a joke, it must be a joke, “Kortman said. “But they were real. It’s a show I’ve been watching since it started. It’s like a dream.

Originally scheduled for filming in May 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has delayed that schedule by a year. By the time the show was ready to shoot, Kortman and her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Francisco Kortman and their four children had moved to Japan.

Despite the logistical challenges of looking after her children, working around her husband’s busy schedule as an obstetrician, and traveling abroad during the pandemic, Kortman managed to fly to New York for filming in May.

Kortman said his lack of work experience proved difficult. Having previously designed clothes only for herself, she had to learn various skills.

For example, the show’s format has designers tailoring clothes for a different model for each episode.

“I had never sewn that for myself – my body, my measurements – so I was very scared of having to sew for all the different bodies,” Kortman said. “With each challenge, you have a different person, and you can’t always choose who you are. I was really scared of it, but I learned a few tips on how to use a dress form to make the pattern.

Navy wife Katie Kortman shows off her design studio at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, September 30, 2021. She is a contender for the upcoming season of the Bravo fashion competition series
Navy wife Katie Kortman shows off her design studio at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, September 30, 2021. She is a contender for the upcoming season of Bravo’s “Project Runway” fashion competition series . (Daniel Betancourt / Stars and stripes)

Kortman also hopes to use her debut in “Project Runway” to launch her clothing line, Katie Kortman Clothing.

When it comes to her design choices and influences, Kortman said she strongly prefers comfortable, artistic clothing. She said many of the more stylistic choices were for going out or evening wear, but she also wanted to design more creative choices for casual wear.

“I’m a little dramatic – there’s usually something interesting like a cover art or crazy volume – but the color is a big part of it,” Kortman said. “You see a lot of mothers with children who wear jeans and a shirt or sportswear because it’s comfortable. I was really looking for clothes that were just as comfortable, but more dramatic, fun and exciting, and I felt like I was wearing art.

Season 19 of “Project Runway” airs on Bravo at 9 p.m. EST Thursday in the US and 7 p.m. Saturday on AFN in Japan.

Aaron Kidd



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