What was your prior experience with menswear?
In my last year of school I wanted to experience designing menswear, so I had some training then. I showed a mens suit in my final collection... it was wild. I made a few custom pieces for male clients a couple years ago, and always like to show a couple mens pieces if I have time. So I had some experience with menswear, and was familiar with the patterns i needed to draft to make my pieces, it had been so long though... I had to go through a lot of mental cobwebs to find that info in my brain.
Has this challenge made you more interested in designing menswear?
I have always loved menswear as an opportunity for innovation. I like menswear, and tailored pieces in general, but lately I find its too much to try to make both womens and mens with just two hands. I want to focus on my womenswear for now, but hope that I can incorporate some menswear in the future.
Suddenly, there are male models in the room. What was the energy in the room?
It was really fun having male models in the workroom.... I dont know if it was the extra testosterone or what but it definitely made the challenge less torturous for a few moments. I'm already spoken for, but it was fun to see the reaction of some of the other designers finding a few pretty faces to drool at for a while.
Who do you admire the most, among menswear designers?
I really like menswear designers that make extremely well tailored clothing while having a sense of humor. Paul Smith, Dior Homme (Hedi Slimane), Etro, Viktor & Rolf, Walter Van Beirendonck.
That room seemed so panicked up to the end. What was it like to be there?
It was pretty crazy! Its always a race to the finish, finding out how much can actually be finished in those last 5 minutes...or not. I was so focused on what I was doing, it was really hard to realize the general atmosphere of the workroom at that moment in time. The vast amount of work we all had on our plates made for a hectic finish...its do or die man, hot glue made an appearance for some. I mean, in those last few moments its such high-energy panic, I think I stopped breathing.
How did you feel about the winning design?
I thought it was very well sewn and that Jack and Tiki both being athletes with similar shapes, really understood each other. I commend Jacks ability to serivce Tiki's wardrobe needs and fit. He did a great job!
There you are, in the top three! What was that like? How did it feel?
It was so amazing to be in the top three. After everything one goes through in the work-room, the hard-work, exhastion, hunger, panic, self-doubt, model-fittings, alterations,.. its so satisfying to know everything came together successfully. I was thrilled!
Your design is called "Genius" for the fleece in the vest and marvelous in general. How did it feel to hear the judges critique you so well?
Hooray!! I was so excited! I almost tackled Jack in the back room! More than anything, it was so great to explain my point of view to the judges... and to be so well received. Wow! I was really proud of my design and that I didn't sacrifice my own design beliefs just to fit the challenge. Ultimately, that is the hardest part of any challenge (for me, the basics of "Project Runway"); to represent yourself as an original designer, on top of making a clean, beautiful garment. Obviously, acheiving the two can be difficult while working within the premise of the challenge and the crazy time constraints. But it was amazing to successfully find that balance for myself and the judges! and it was MENSwear to boot... i was ecstatic!
What was your relationship to Carmen?
Carmen and I were flat mates in the apartment so I did get a chance to know her quite well. She was like a big sister sometimes, always making sure we had vegetarian food. She was a lot of fun to joke around with and we were in a fake band together called "black cherry fingertips." I was sad that the band had to break up, but I look forward to the reunion!