Valerie Mayen Designer


Cleveland, OH

A first generation Guatemalan-American, Valerie was born and raised in Texas by immigrants who came to the United States with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Valerie first realized she had potential as a designer when in junior high school she constantly turned her generic, bland clothes into things she actually wanted to wear. Out of high school, Valerie moved to Cleveland to study illustration and graphic design at the Cleveland Institute of Art and graduated with a degree in Illustration.

Thanks to a $20,000 fellowship from a Cleveland Community Arts & Culture Fund Valerie was able to return to fashion, take sewing classes and eventually start her own company called Yellowcake. She named the company after the beautiful dessert with sweet finishings that leave you wanting more.

Valerie made it through 11 of the 14 challenges of Season 8 and credits Project Runway for making a name for her in Cleveland and all around the world. After the show she began doing several pop up shops and eventually set up a permanent home in the burgeoning Gordon Square Arts District of Cleveland. Life post- Runway catapulted Valerie to a whole new level of success.

Today business at Yellowcake is booming. And Valerie is having trouble keeping the supply up with the demand. She’s placing her annual community charity event on hold to do All Stars – it’s one of her major sources of income so she says not winning the prize is not an option. Valerie says to expect the same super fun Valerie we saw on Season 8 but with a much more competitive edge. She says she’s coming back with a fire that even the best designers couldn’t quell.