Carol Hannah Whitfield, 24: “She’s young, just out of design school,” says Gunn of the South Carolina native, who currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. But “people will be disarmed by what they see her achieve.”
Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman, 31: “He’s someone who in my view thinks entirely too much,” Gunn says of the Chicago resident, whose favorite designer is Marc Jacobs. “I was constantly surprised in the workroom – suddenly, there’s a new design.”
Johnny Sakalis, 30: A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Runway‘s new West Coast home, “Johnny will be polarizing,” Gunn says of the L.A. resident. “People will love him, or hate him.”
Irina Shabayeva, 27: A native of the Republic of Georgia, she counts Cleopatra as a style icon. And Gunn admires the designer’s sense of proportion and fit. “Her models look as if they’ve been in for a dozen fittings,” he says, “and they haven’t.”
Malvin Vien, 24: “When you see this guy, you won’t believe he’s from Colorado,” Gunn says of Vein. Talk about an eclectic fashion palette: His style inspirations include rural Chinese farmers, Japanese ghost stories and insect anatomy.
Althea Harper, 25: “Everyone [thinks] she’s only on the show because she’s a tall blond beauty,” admits Gunn. “But she’s extremely talented. She’s going to blow people away.”
Qristyl Frazier, 42: Hailing from St. Louis, Mo., her style icons include Halle Berry, Whitney Houston and Gwyneth Paltrow. “Qristyl is a hoot,” says Gunn. “She likes a lot of color, and print. She’s entertaining to watch.”
Logan Neitzel, 25: “Logan’s from Seattle, and you get a crunch-granola feeling in what he does,” Gunn says of the self-described “guys’ guy” who likes snowboarding and cars as much as he likes John Galliano and Tom Ford.
Mitchell Hall, 26: “Mitchell looks like he just stepped out of Gossip Girl and I think that’s who he’d like to design for,” Gunn says of the Savannah, Ga., resident, who is a creative director for a Vera Wang bridal salon.
Ari Fish, 26: “She’s deeply conceptual,” Gunn says of the self-taught Kansas City, Mo., native, who doesn’t sketch or drape her designs, but sews fast. Her influences include geometry, ergonomics, nomadic tribal wear and athletic apparel.
Nicolas Putvinski, 27: Born in Moscow, he’s had designs commissioned for W and Vogue – and may be a bit of a fashion snob. “If you have such a bad taste in your mouth about American fashion,” Gunn has wondered about the F.I.T. grad. “Why are you here?”
Shirin Askari, 25: “She’s young, she’s pretty, she’s articulate,” Gunn says of the Garland, Texas, resident whose style icon is Katharine Hepburn. “I’m not sure what is distinctive about her, other than the fact that she’s good.”
Christopher Straub, 30: “Christopher is very sensitive, very emotional. He wears his emotions on his sleeve,” Gunn says of the Shakopee, Minn., resident, who appreciates volume, eye-catching fabrics and Victoria Beckham.
Louise Black, 32: Gunn describes the native Texan as “thoughtful, contemplative, and never a hair out of place.” A fan of Christian Lacroix, the first garment the former clinical lab technician ever made was her own wedding dress.
Gordana Gehlhausen, 45: The Yugoslavia-born designer now owns a boutique in San Diego. Expect a lot of “textile development,” says Gunn. “It wouldn’t be a case of going shopping and using the fabric she brought back. She’d do things to it.”
Epperson, 50: “He is the most senior in terms of design career and reputation,” Gunn says of this self-taught designer who grew up in Harlem, N.Y. “He has a distinguished career. He’s elder-statesmanlike.”
For more on Runway‘s new designers, visit mylifetime.com