But McCarroll does know a thing or two about fashion. He just beat out 11 others to win Bravo's reality hit Project Runway
. His designs have "their own pizzazz," says Runway
host Heidi Klum
. "Jay is very quirky and funny."
McCarroll, who lives with his parents in Lehman, Pa., claimed the $100,000 prize after a frenetic, month-long design-a-thon in which contestants created wedding dresses, postal uniforms and other outfits, culminating in a collection at New York City's Fashion Week. His biggest challenge now is adjusting to fame. "People take pictures of me with their camera phones!" he says. But he vows not to change his antifashionista philosophy. "I want to make inexpensive clothes people can actually wear," he says. In Klum, he's already found a model: "I wear his blue jeans, and people say, 'Wow, those jeans are so cool! Who makes them?' "
With his penchant for dime-store shades and Wal-Mart sweatshirts, Jay McCarroll admits he doesn't dress like a typical fashion designer. "Why would I want to wear Dolce & Gabbana?" says McCarroll, 30. "First, they don't make my size, and second, if I have that kind of money, I'll give it to my nephew for college. I'm not going to spend it on a stupid pair of pants!"