Fashion designer Mychael Knight died Tuesday morning in Atlanta. Knight reached stardom following his participation in ‘Project Runway,’ while he didn’t win the competition he was the fan’s favorite.
Knight is survived by his parents and sisters. Following the news of him passing away, celebrities and fans took to social media to share kind words about the late designer.
An early farewell to Mychael
Atlanta fashion designer Mychael Knight died Tuesday, at a Georgia hospital. He was 39. The family broke the news via a statement. Knight died surrounded by friends and family, outside Atlanta.
“We are still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend and uncle. Mychael meant everything to us and we loved him dearly. He was generous and so full of life. This is how we choose to remember his legacy,” it read.
According to TMZ, the late designer had been suffering from intestinal issues, however, a cause of death hasn’t been stated yet. In July, Knight posted a note on Facebook explaining he had Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
He also explained that his body wasn’t absorbing nutrients properly and that toxins were leaking into his bloodstream, which can cause auto-immune issues.
“He was innovative, unapologetic, kind and giving,” said friend Jerris Madison, the editor, and photographer of Obvious Magazine. “He made sure that anybody who was in his core circle, his family, his friends, didn’t have to want for anything. He was just an amazing man.”
In 2006, Knight became a contestant on ‘Project Runway,’ marking the first black male to be on the popular show. Although he didn’t win this season he was voted “Fan Favorite.” He would come back in 2013 to compete in ‘Project Runway All Stars’ and come eighth.
Mychael is survived by his parents, Michael Sr. and Pamela Knight, and also by two sisters. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Making his way through the fashion industry
Born in 1978, Mychael spent his childhood in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1996, he graduated from Washingtonville Senior High School in Washingtonville, New York.
That same year he began his freshman year of college at Georgia Southern University, where he would earn a Bachelor of Science degree in apparel design and merchandise in 2001. Once he graduated he broke into the fashion industry by working as an intern at Wilbourn Exclusives, in Atlanta back in 2001.
In 2006 when he made the jump to stardom. He became a contestant on ‘Project Runway’s fourth season and went on to win that season’s fan favorite award. in 2007, he introduced his label, Mychael Knight, on BET’s ‘Rip the Runway.’
His participation in both shows caused a boom and helped him expand his brand, which caught the eye of celebrities like Sheri Shepard, Jennifer Hudson, Patti LaBelle, and Eva Marcille.
After causing a huge impression on ‘Project Runway’s judges, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors, decided to bring him back in 2013 for the third season of ‘Project Runway All Stars’ and came eighth. More recently, he also worked on an eponymous line and launches a line of tees with Starbucks. He debuted a new line last September, during New York Fashion Week.
Mychael’s family has received nothing but kind words
In the wake of his death, several stars took to social media to commemorate the late fashion designer, including several celebrity clients and friends.
Close friend Sherri Shepard wrote a heartfelt tribute to the late designer accompanied by a picture of them together.
“Mychael how I wish your dreams weren’t cut short — but so thankful for the time I was allowed to be a part of your life,” she concluded.
“I know you are in #heaven updating the angels’ wardrobe (‘Lord! Wings are so 90s!’) I love you my friend #RIP #alwaysafan.”
My heart hurts so much today bc I lost my friend, my little brother @mychaelknight . I was a fan of Mychael's since I first saw him on #ProjecctRunway & when @jawnmurray finally put us together, it was a match made in #heaven. We clicked immediately & Mychael said he was going to be my stylist for the long haul. He had a wicked sense of humour and was the most creative man I knew. Mychael had a sixth sense when it came to styling women… he brought out the best of your features and I always felt like a princess when he styled me. Mychael taught me that Spanx is a girl's best friend and Lord help me if someone took a pic of me & I wasn't red carpet ready. I respected his business acumen, his honesty and integrity. When he said he wanted to collaborate w me on a curvy line of clothing for women, I thought we'd struck gold. The blush gown I am wearing, Mychael custom designed & sewed (in 24 hours) for the daytime Emmys. Mychael how I wish your dreams weren't cut short – but so thankful for the time I was allowed to be a part of your life. I know you are in #heaven updating the Angels' wardrobe ("Lord! Wings are so 90s!"). I love you my friend #RIP #alwaysafan
Andy Cohen, who was a Bravo executive when ‘Project Runway’ first began expressed his condolences over the death of the late designer.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) October 17, 2017
RIP my dear old friend, Mychael Knight. Ur such a beautiful spirit. I cherish ur humble creative nature. One of the good ones, gone too soon pic.twitter.com/khj1YO82km
— Keri Hilson (@KeriHilson) October 18, 2017
— Shawntae Harris (@sosobrat) October 18, 2017
Truly saddened by the news of #MychaelKnight passing away. He was the sweetest soul and so passionate about his work. He custom made both of my prom dresses and made me feel beautiful! He was always there for me when I called. Sending my prayers and condolences to his family at this time. RIP sweet soul ❤️
As for ‘Project Runway’ judges, they were shocked by the sad news.
“I was shocked to hear the news of Mychael’s passing,” Garcia said in a statement to “E! News.”
“He was such a talented, positive and determined person and designer. He will surely be missed by his ‘Project Runway’ family and all those who knew him.” “My love and thoughts are with Mychael’s family. He was an extraordinary designer and a very sweet man,” Klum added.
“I am so sad to hear about Mychael’s passing,” Kors said.
“He had a great upbeat energy, a love of women, and his clothes were bold and sexy. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”