Tonight starts the sixteenth cycle of Project Runway and I am so ready to sharpen my claws pencil to rip to shreds critique this band of miscreants and losers talented folks.
But, since we are out of town, my first review won’t hit until sometimes next week ... sorry about that, but, you know, vacation.
Ridgewood, New York.
Aaron also loves to talk, as we find out that he loves being challenged, took some art classes, went to an engineering school, loves clothes, wanted to be a buyer, and then slowly realized he loved to design.
His strengths as a designerlie in concept and design, and he loves designing feminine menswear; a kind of, what he calls, a “cool gender-queer” look. His main weakness is not working with too much womenswear ... oops ... and cutting fabric and patterns, which he blames on being left-handed, so, naturally, he’d love a menswear challenge and hate a wedding dress challenge.
Lastly Aaron is positive he can with the PR, despite not being able to cut fabrics or patterns or design for women. M’kay?
Amy Bond is 46 and is coming to us from Los Angeles.
She first realized she had potential to be a designer when she was in seventh grade and could tell that her “eye” and taste was way different than anything else. She then studied, earning a Master’s of fine arts in fashion design, and a BFA.
She calls versatility, experience and “professionality” [sic] her strengths, and says if she discovers a weakness, she turns it into an opportunity:
“Never made a swimsuit? Time to figure out how!”
She’s up for the “Real People” challenge and hopes they never bring back the challenge with dogs. She is also looking forward to the team challenges—which, I think, means she’ll crumble—because “you need to learn to work with them.”
Amy also thinks she can win because, ahem, “as an educator and seasoned professional, I have a thorough set of relevant skills and experiences to draw from and the maturity to implement them.”
Yeah, she’s going down.
Ayana Ife is 27 and calls Salt Lake City home.
She keeps it brief; she knew she had designer potential when she was 10; her design experience is a BA and experience; her strength as a designer is courage, while her weakness is being a perfectionist; she loves a team challenge and knows she can win because she’s tenacious.
Yeah, tenacity will get you to The Tents.
Batani-Khalfani is 32 and from California.
She says she has always designed, starting when she was four. But, alas, she has no formal training though she did take a sewing class at Downtown Magnets High School: Fashion Careers Center.
Tim will love that! But she’s strong because she works fast and is good with proportions and colors, while her weakness is that she’s still self-teaching herself. She’s hoping for the Black Light Challenge and is dreading any kind of Pet Supplies Challenge.
And she thinks she can win because she’screative, thinks outside the box, works well under pressure, and is a great person ... who is still learning.
Brandon Kee is 24 and from the City by the Bay, San Francisco.
He knew he was a designer at 13, but didn’t realize his potential until design school. He has a Bachelor’s in fashion design at The Academy of Arts in San Francisco and has been designing for about five years.
His strengths lie in being “tasteful, thoughtful, meticulous, and conceptual” which is PR speak for I Am A Loudmouth Diva. His weakness is getting things done.
Oy. I see Tim snapping. And Brandon is not keen on team challenges at all, and just says he’ll make the best of it ... which means he’ll throw anyone under a bus.
He also thinks he can win the PR if he has enough time ... like, you know, making a ball gown for Heidi in six hours?
ChaCha is 24 and from Taipei, Taiwan.
I also think ChaCha is the name of a drag queen from the drag race who doesn’t know how to sew, so maybe he’s on the wrong show? Plus, he realized he was a designer because he ... wait for it ... doodled fashion sketches on his high school text books and his classmates said they were super cute. But he did go to the School of Art Institute of Chicago and received a master in fashion, so, um, yeah.
His strengths are that he is fun and wacky, and will no doubt make Tim’s head explode, while his weakness is that he cannot fit a dress very well ... also something to make Tim go mad!
He doesn’t want a repeat of the Male Stripper Challenge—though something about him makes me think he likes male strippers—and he wants to make garments from candy.
Lastly, he’s not sure he can win, but believes he could show at The Tents if his lack of experience doesn’t ruin it for him.
And if Nina doesn’t eat him alive.
I never expected that the first person I would ever design for would be Katy Perry! That experience truly opened my eyes to the idea that I could make a living as a designer.”
I sense a large head here. She has an Associate’s degree in fashion technology from Lansing Community College and a Bachelor’s degree of applied science with a concentration in entrepreneurial business and communication from the University of Michigan.
“I am especially proud that my degrees were funded entirely through academic scholarships.”
Yes, so Katy loves you and you’re so smart. Ick.
She says her strengths are “strong sewing, construction skills, color usage, and embellishment” and her weakness is that she is so good, it’s hard for her to hear criticism.
I am not liking her. She wants a challenge where they send her to Europe—to never be heard from again?—and loathes any kind of Unconventional Challenge. She would like a team challenge only if she gets to work with her twin sister Shawn Buitendorp—yes, twin—but loathes the idea of working with anyone else.
And, yes, no surprise, she knows she’s going to win.
I loathe her already.
Deyonté Weather is 36 and joins the PR from Lynnwood, Washington.
Herealized he could be a designer at 18 when I designed my own garment for prom ... I’m not sure if it was a gown or a tuxedo though I think he could rock both. He has a degree from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago and feels his strengths are making innovative, sexy and smart clothes; his weakness? He’s an “over-thinker”. He’d like a repeat of the Stilt Challenge, but is not thrilled if they repeat the Party Store challenge.
And he wants to make it clear—to Claire—that he can win the PR because this is his time.
Kentaro Kameyama is from LA and is 38.
He’s known he wanted to be a designer since he was five and went to FCI in DTLA ... I don't know ... it’s all letters.
He is strong in being able to see “perfect balance” in potions and colors, but his weakness lies in working during daylight ... is he a vampire? ... and he thinks that if he makes it to the Final Three he can win.
If it’s held at night.
Kenya Freeman is 37, from Atlanta, and has known she wanted to be a designer since she was in high school and worked at being cute. She did, however, take fashion merchandising in high school and has a BFA in fashion design.
She is a strong tailor but hates knits; I guess knits aren’t cute? She wants to be challenged to make a Day-to-Night lookfor a major retailer, but doesn’t wanna make fashion from candy. She’s okay with a team challenge as long as everyone pulls their weight so she won’t have to kill anyone.
And, of course, she thinks she can win because she has a “reasonable understanding of the business of fashion and understand my customer enough to design things that are not just visually appealing, but also sales-worthy.”
Sounds like mall clothes. Paging, Nina Garcia! Nina Garcia to the guillotine, please.
Kudzanai Kardizi is 32 and also from Atlanta.
He’s wanted to be a designer since the ninth grade when he began designing and making his own clothes. His strength is being resourceful—perfect for the Unconventional Challenges—but his weakness is “doubt”. Uh oh.
He wants to do a99 cent store challenge, but not a Dollar Tree challenge, and would cringe at a Miss Piggy challenge.
He is also sure he’ll win ... unless .... doubt.
Margarita Alvarez is 30 and has traveled all the way from San Juan, Puerto Rico to be on the PR.
When she was15 a fashion designer came across her sketches and hired her as an intern. She then went to the Rhode Island School of Design and majored in apparel and textile design.
Her strength is patternmaking; her weakness is hand sewing and finishes ... the couture challenge will break her.
She also wants a challenge where she can go to Paris, but does not want to makes clothes for dogs.
And she has the skills, drive and passion to win ... unless it’s Project Petway.
Michael Brambila is 25, from Oakland, and giving me Mondo-wannabe.
He knew he wanted to be a designer when people noticed he was sketching a lot of clothes. Um, okay .... He studied at Parsons ... does Tim know him ... until he left after two years to work with local NYC designers.
He says his strength is that he has a “very youthful eye” with an “elevated luxury feel” to his clothes; his weakness is over thinking ... that his clothes are all that and a bag of chips? He’s up for a Menswear challenge, a Black Light challenge, or a Rainway challenge, and doesn’t have a challenge he hates ... uh huh, sure.
He also thinks he can win because he can “properly shed some light on all the gross and freaky, tacky, sexual, and weird things that society isn’t familiar with.”
Yeah, he’s a Mondo-wannabe.
Samantha Rei is 36 and hails from the Twin City of Minneapolis.
She’s wanted to be a designer since she was 13, watched fashion shows, and said, “I can do that!” Her design training is her mom always sewed and so she was able to kick everyone’s butts in Middle School Home Ec classes.
Michael Kors watch out!
Her strength is that she is fast and can dress all sizes—which will be good because this year the PR is doing models of all sizes—but her weakness is that she can tell people what to do but then she does it herself; I see Team Challenge meltdown.
She loves the unconventional challenges but hated the one where the designers had to run around a track; she’s a sitter, y’all.
And she’ll win because, ahem, she’s a “winner by nature.”
Sentell McDonald is from New York and is 33; he’s also adorable.
He says he knew he wanted to be a designer because he grew up on a farm in the South and had to make his own clothes. He didn’t take design classes until he was 31, though, so, yeah, there’s that. His strength lies in patternmaking and the ability to use scraps of fabric; his weakness is that he doesn’t really sketch.
He hated the season where it was all team challenges, so he doesn’t want that repeated, and also doesn’t want to run around a track; another sitter?
He also has the “ideas, talent and most of all, the drive” to win.
And he is cute.
Shawn Buitendorp, like her twin Claire, is 27 and from Michigan.
She knew she wanted to design when at 21, she was accepted to an internship with Betsey Johnson and after only one month was hired to work as part of her design team. Clearly, her ego is something she shares with Claire.
She also shares an Associate’s degree in fashion technology from Lansing Community College and a Bachelor’s degree of applied science with a concentration in entrepreneurial business and communication from the University of Michigan. Her strengths are concept development, unique fabric selection and detail work, but says her flaw is that Claire sews better.
Ugh. I loathe this one, too.
She wants to revisit the Dylan’s Candy Bar challenge but would die if they made her cut up her own clothes—I am so wanting this to happen, now.
And she says she will win the PR, unless Claire beats her to it, because only those two can win. I’d like them both gone first, please.
And, there you have it: PR 16, The Design Bunch.
Let the games begin ...