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Wyoming Project Runway Star ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing’

April 17, 2020
man using an iron
Tyler Neasloney (Photo by Barbara Nitke/Bravo)

Project Runway viewers in Wyoming might have noticed a familiar face in the popular reality show’s most recent season. University of Wyoming alumnus Tyler Neasloney (’11) brought his largely self-taught skills to the competition, showcasing a love for fashion he discovered through an experience at UW.

“For the longest time, I had people telling me I should apply for this competition,” Neasloney says. “When I applied, it felt a little premature. And I was thinking, ‘I’ll give it a try, let me see what comes of it.’ And then it happened.”

Born and raised in Cheyenne, Neasloney says UW was the obvious choice for him. He eventually majored in marketing and Russian. His interest in fashion was not piqued until he enrolled in a study abroad course that took him to the United Kingdom and France, showing him textile manufacturing and the garment industry.

“At that point, I had less than a semester left before I graduated,” Neasloney says. “Had I declared this from the beginning, it would have been a whole different path for me.”

Instead, Neasloney followed his other interests, interning for U.S. Sen. John Barrasso in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York City. There he worked for a publishing agency and an LGBT travel magazine, putting his marketing degree and graphic design skills to work.

He now leads events and communications for the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the city’s homeless LGBT youth.

But throughout this time, Neasloney kept designing—Halloween costumes, gowns, outfits for drag shows—usually for himself.

“While none of my education was in fashion and certainly none of my career was in fashion, it was always there in the background,” he says. “That’s been my outlet for about eight years.”

In 2019, Neasloney launched his own label and began making looks for galas, red carpets and other events. Running the label in addition to his nonprofit work gave Neasloney a pretty full plate, but it did not stop him from joining Project Runway.

“It’s been a very winding road to get here,” he says. “But I think fashion was definitely always a common denominator in my life—even though I didn’t notice until recently.”

Being on the show introduced Neasloney to designers who have been in the industry longer and know the ropes. He says the experience has been invaluable.

“It’s something that taught me a lot,“ Neasloney says. “It’s also a grueling competition. It’s also a really supportive space for an emerging designer. At the end of the day, there are 15 other designers who just want to succeed and want you to succeed.”

Neasloney says he is the first Wyomingite many New Yorkers have ever met, but he’s grateful to be from a place like Wyoming and a university like UW.

“I think being raised in a place that’s so unique and so sparsely populated is really core to how I see the world,” he says. “Looking back on what I studied in school and where I’ve gone, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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