Johnny Wujek's 'Evolution' from Katy Perry's Costumer to His Own Watch Line Was 'Divine Timing'
After he "peaced out on styling" a few years ago, Johnny Wujek tells PEOPLE about his journey from costume designing for Katy Perry and America's Next Top Model to launching his own watch line
After years of contributing some iconic fashion moments to the pop culture zeitgeist, Johnny Wujek is building upon his empire.
The Emmy Award-winning costume designer, 43, known for his work with Katy Perry, America's Next Top Model and HBO Max's Legendary, tells PEOPLE he's "always been a big watch guy" as he rolls out his new Armitron Loves Johnny watch collection.
"Even though phones are your new watch, I always loved them growing up. My dad wore watches. They're just such a gentleman thing and I love an accessory," says Wujek. "I've done costumes, I've done fashion, and the time really was to do watches."
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After moving to Los Angeles 23 years ago from his hometown of Detroit, Wujek met Perry, 38, "out at a party one night" and began collaborating on some of her most camp looks, explaining "it just literally snowballed" from there.
"And it's just been an evolution of keep moving and keep growing," says Wujek, adding: "I've always just been kind of like, 'Every opportunity that brings me joy and inspires me, go after it. No regrets.' I have it tattooed."
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He says Perry is "the best client to be campy with," recalling the significance of her cupcake and functioning whipped cream bras in the 2010 music video for "California Gurls" as "the beginning" of their creative partnership.
"It was all about just kind of pushing the boundaries," Wujek continues. "She's so beautiful and sexy, and yet she has such a great sense of humor. So that allowed us to really play around."
Wujek has since served as costume designer on several of Perry's videos, in addition to styling her LED dress at the 2010 Met Gala and her toilet paper look on American Idol in 2020. He's also designed and styled looks for Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Kate Mara, Shakira, Saweetie and more.
In 2012, Wujek joined cycle 19 of ANTM as a creative director, which he says was "such a surreal experience" after he "grew up watching it," adding: "And then all of a sudden I'm like, 'Holy crap, I'm on the show, and here's [host Tyra Banks], who's such a sweetheart.' It was cool."
He's since served in similar capacities on Project Runway All Stars and Legendary, on which he worked longtime friend Law Roach, an "icon in the fashion world" who recently announced his retirement from celebrity styling.
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Wujek praises Roach, 44, for "going out with a bang," adding: "I know how it is. It takes a lot of your energy out. So good for him for reclaiming it and protecting his own energy."
He notes that he also "peaced out on styling a couple years ago" himself, which Wujek says is "an amazing feeling."
These days, Wujek is focused on creative directing, DJing, designing an upcoming prom dress line and his feature directorial debut, in addition to his new watch line. "I'll never just do one thing," says Wujek.
Wujek's line with Armitron, founded in 1975, features a unique, stylish range of analog and digital timepieces that blend classic style with modern aesthetics and fun pops of color. The Aura design features a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted face by Wujek himself.
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"When I first initially signed on with Armitron to do this, one of the ideas that was just inspiring me was, I just grabbed a bunch of watercolors and started painting different kind of color blobs within a face of a watch," explains Wujek. "And it just evolved into a new way of showing the face."
Johnny Wujek's Armitron Loves Johnny collection is now available exclusively at Armitron.com.
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