Jeffrey Sebelia

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Jeffrey Sebelia
Jeffrey Sebelia in August 2007
Born (1970-05-03) May 3, 1970 (age 45)
Residence Los Angeles
Education Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
Occupation fashion designer
Television Project Runway Season 3 (Winner)

Jeffrey Sebelia (born May 3, 1970) is an American fashion designer and founder of the clothing label Cosa Nostra, which he headed from a loft on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. He is best known as the winner of the third season of American reality show Project Runway.


In the early 1990s, along with Mike Coulter and John Rozas Sebelia was a member of the band Lifter, which was signed by Interscope Records. They had a minor radio hit with the song "402," but they disbanded. Lifter's song "Swing" was featured in Jeffrey's runway show at Olympus Fashion Week.

After a successful drug rehabilitation at the age of 31, Sebelia enrolled in sewing classes at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. It was there that he immediately fell in love with design, and shortly after he started the clothing line Cosa Nostra. Among his celebrity clients are Dave Navarro, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marilyn Manson, Elton John, Madonna, and Tommy Lee. The Cosa Nostra label is available in about twenty stores worldwide.

In the spring of 2006, Sebelia auditioned for the Bravo series Project Runway after seeing the success his friend, former contestant Santino Rice, had enjoyed. Jeffrey was selected to compete, was one of the final four contestants to display their collections at Fashion Week, and was chosen the winner. He had been portrayed as the third season's "villain," notorious for his explicit language and making fellow contestant Angela Keslar's mother cry, but fellow contestants like Alison Kelly have disputed this, saying he was far nicer than the program's editing indicated.[1] Also, in an interview, Angela Keslar acknowledged that Sebelia apologized to her for various incidents between the two, but the apologies were never aired.[2]

Just two days before the runway show, Sebelia was investigated for charges brought against him by fellow contestant Laura Bennett. After seeing the amount of work completed, she brought her concerns about his having outside help to the show's designers' assistant, Tim Gunn. Jeffrey was cleared of any wrongdoing, and Gunn stated he "completely believed that Jeffrey sewed the garments himself." However, because he had exceeded the $8,000 budget, he was forced to eliminate 12 platinum blonde wigs he had intended for his models to wear. Because the receipt for the allowable pleating done on a pair of leather shorts couldn't be found, Jeffrey replaced them with a pair of leather pants he had made as an extra option.

As one of the final four contestants, Sebelia presented a full collection at Olympus Fashion Week. Filled with bright colors, flowing dresses, and smart separates, his collection was strikingly different from the trademark grunge, punk, and rock 'n' roll-style outfits he had created throughout the season. His winnings include $100,000 to develop his own clothing line, a 2007 Saturn Sky Roadster, a year's representation by Designer's Management Agency, and a 15-page spread - featuring Marilinda Rivera, the model with whom he was paired during most of the Project Runway challenges - in ELLE magazine.

Jeffrey Sebelia appeared on the November 2009 issue of Cliché Magazine as one of the most prominent designers of his generation. The feature included an interview by editor in chief Jeremy Fall as well as exclusive photography by Dirk Mai. The content was featured on Cliché Magazine's official blog Hello Kitsch.[3]

In August 2009, Fancast reported that Sebelia is starting work on a new line, eponymously named Jeffrey Sebelia.[4]

2011 marked a new branch in Sebelia's fashion career. He launched edgy kids line La Miniatura with friend, Melissa Bochco. Sebelia asserts, "I just want my kid to be able to dress with some dignity!".[5]

In 2013, Sebelia became a contestant on Project Runway: All Stars (season 3), where he ranked 7th out of 11 contestants.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Sebelia shared a violent relationship with his father, who divorced his mother when Jeffrey was 8. Later, Jeffrey, who felt responsible for the divorce, began using cocaine and marijuana. By the time he was 16, he was a heroin addict living in a friend's garage. The following 15 years were filled with numerous, yet failed, attempts to get sober at a number of West Coast drug treatment centers. He has never been far from the spotlight and has been friends with Dave Navarro since they were teens.[7] Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, who is also an avid client, loves the Cosa Nostra line and has known Sebelia for years.[8]

Before the show, Sebelia had lived with his girlfriend and their young son, Harrison. However, after completing Project Runway Sebelia separated from his girlfriend.[9] It was Harrison, Sebelia's son, that inspired his trademark neck tattoo which took more than eight hours to complete. The tattoo reads "Harrison Detroit l’amor de la mia vita." It is his son's name, along with the phrase "the love of my life," in Italian. But the tattoo contains a mistake, the correct diction is "l'amore della mia vita".[10]


  1. ^ Interview with fellow contestant, Alison Kelly, confirming her friendship with Sebelia and positive thoughts on his personality.
  2. ^ Interview with Angela Keslar
  3. ^
  4. ^ Project Runway's Jeffrey Sebelia: Where is He Now? Fancast interview with Sebelia on life after Project Runway, his current projects, and the Project Runway All-Star Challenge.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Introducing the Season 3 Cast!
  7. ^ In depth LA Times Interview, with Jeffrey Sebelia. Confirms things such as his long-time friendship with guitarist Dave Navarro, as well as many things involving his rough past.
  8. ^ Linkin Park's Chester Bennington to launch Ve'cel clothing Mentions his friendship with Jeffrey and Cosa Nostra as one of his favorite labels.
  9. ^ Jennifer Senior (Aug 6, 2007). "The Near-Fame Experience". pub. Retrieved 2007-12-04. Jeffrey Sebelia, last season’s winner, split with his girlfriend, with whom he had a 2-year-old son. 
  10. ^ People magazine article, about the meaning of Jeffrey's neck tattoo..

External links[edit]