His winning show was based around the color red, in homage to his mother, who passed away from breast cancer in 2004. The day after his big win aired, Williams, who spent time on the bottom throughout the show, was tired, elated and pragmatic about the future.
So, what's next now that you've won The Fashion Show?
It's great because now everyone knows that I won the $125K, which is so amazing and more than what I had before, but ... it's just one accomplishment that I've had and it's just one little step closer to a bigger dream, so I'm not going to rush into anything. I'm not going to make any sudden moves unless I really think about it, and for right now just hold onto the money and see how I want to invest it. Right now, I'm just going to focus on what comes my way. Because, you know, after taxes it's not going to be $125K anymore [laughs].
My goal is to be an international designer with a lifestyle brand and, eventually, have my own store, and sell my clothes in stores like Colette, Barneys and Bergdorf.
Besides the money, of course, what did you take away from this experience?
I've always felt like I knew what I wanted to and I was always comfortable being myself, and I knew I wanted to be in fashion, from going to school in Italy, going to school in NY for fashion design. Going through this competition just really sealed the deal on how badly I really want to be a fashion designer and how badly I really want to be in this industry. It really gave the world that concept too, they're able to see how hard I'm willing to work to make a difference in fashion one day, and how much I just love my job. Every day that I was still there, I was exhausted, I was tired but I would count my blessings for being there. I really learned my strengths, and my weaknesses, too. It was great to have feedback from Isaac and Iman and all the other judges that came in.
I was in the bottom for a period of time, and it was really great to be able to step back and really think about what I'm doing, how I want to put my designs out there and how I want to be perceived.
As the winner, did you have a special strategy? Was there a way to play?
To be honest, I didn't know what I was getting into, because you can never really be prepared for a reality television show. You can't really explain the feelings you have while you're there--it's such a different dimension, it's like you're in this bubble. Basically, I just wanted to be myself. I think I came off as authentic and totally "me." There was so much more that [viewers didn't] see, but I really didn't have any kind of weird game plan or strategy. My concept was to go there and pretend that this was work, and I had clients and customers, and I was working with a team.
Do you keep in touch with your fellow competitors?
For sure! I still keep in touch with them a ton. At the end of the day we all pretty much support each other. It's great because while you're up there, you know you're with great designers. It's not like it's fake or you feel like they put a certain designer on the show because they look a certain way. At the end of the day, everyone does have their own character but it was all real.
How does it feel to have won?
I was elated [upon showing my collection]. I was super excited, but I was also just numb, because everything was so overwhelming, and it was such a beautiful moment -- to have my family there, it was just wild. I was backstage, watching the show on the screen, and saw my father and one of my older sisters [Ed. note: Jeffrey is one of 12 children!]. I could have died right there.
You seem to have a good head on your shoulders in the face of such a big win.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I definitely want to buy a pair of YSL shoes. I think I need like at least one, or two gifts to celebrate, right?