Kini Zamora takes another shot at ‘Project Runway’
It’s the call “Project Runway” alumni anticipate but dread, the invitation for a second try. After a Top 3 finish during “Project Runway” Season 14 in 2014, Hawaii designer Kini Zamora got the call last summer from producers of the follow-up competition, “Project Runway All Stars,” and had to take some time to mull over positives and negatives.
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“Project Runway All Stars”
Airs 7 p.m. Thursdays on Lifetime
It’s the call “Project Runway” alumni anticipate but dread, the invitation for a second try.
After a Top 3 finish during “Project Runway” Season 14 in 2014, Hawaii designer Kini Zamora got the call last summer from producers of the follow-up competition, “Project Runway All Stars,” and had to take some time to mull over positives and negatives.
“I thought, ‘Oh boy, am I gonna do this again? After all they put us through, do I want to feel that stress level again?’ All that was running through my head,” said the designer, 32, who by then was ensconced in business as usual: launching a bridal collection, creating his spring 2016 collection that debuted at November’s Honolulu Fashion Week, producing the “Goodwill Goes GLAM!” fashion show for the community service organization and preparing to open his retail/workspace The Clique by KZ.
“I reached out to a couple of other designers who had done it, and they all said I should jump at the opportunity because it’s another outlet for people to see my work. And to have gotten so close to winning, this was another chance to take home the win, so I said yes.”
The designer is inviting all to join him for the premiere episode at a 21-and-older viewing party 5 p.m. today at Tiki’s at Scarlet, 1146 Fort Street Mall, before he heads out to New York Fashion Week as a spectator viewing the fall shows running today through Feb. 18.
As it turns out, being on “All Stars” was like a vacation for the designer, who says he’s been working nonstop since his first TV appearance.
“In business I have to do things that will sell, but it was something I didn’t have to worry about while doing the show. I could do all the creative things I really wanted to do, and this time around it was easier because I knew what to expect.”
ALL-STARS VIEWING PARTY
With Kini Zamora
>> Place: Tiki’s at Scarlet, 1146 Fort Street Mall
>> When: From 5 p.m. today, with entertainment by So Roots at 6 p.m.
>> Admission: Free
>> Call: 200-0910
Among the 13 contestants are familiar faces from Zamora’s season: Emily Payne, Mitchell Perry and Fade Zu Grau. Others viewers might recognize include Dom Streater, Daniel Franco (the designer who never goes away) and Stella “I love leatha, I am leatha” Zotis.
“People think everyone is so evil toward each other because we’re in a competition, but it was actually so nice to see people from my season again. It was like going back to school and seeing your friends. All the designers got along, and we had a lot more fun.”
One would think there is a comfort level in knowing individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, and knowing how to beat them, but Zamora said the wild card is not knowing what the challenges are.
“I know what these people are capable of, but, as well as you know each competitor, the challenge could be something they’re expert at. There could be four challenges in a row that play into their strength.”
He returned home after six weeks of filming with renewed vigor and started work on a fantasy princess collection that could coincide with the fall release of Disney’s “Moana” animated film about a Polynesian princess, Moana Waialiki, voiced by local teen Auli‘i Cravalho.
“It’s just a side project that might evolve into something wearable, but for me it just represents a break from everything else I’m doing.”
In addition to keeping up with the fashion cycle of introducing spring and fall collections, and dabbling in colorful accessories to go with his fall 2016 collection, he is working on establishing The Clique by KZ, which opened last fall, as a collaborative site for creatives.
“The Clique has been a vision for years as a place for me and my family to open to the public.”
More than a public retail space, The Clique by KZ, at 99-1132 Iwaena St. in Aiea, also serves as Zamora’s working studio, a place where he is able to stitch up a garment, place it on a model and photograph it on the spot.
Because everything is set up, he envisions it as a shared space for hair and makeup artists, stylists and photographers, and other designers who want to sell their wares.
“It’s a place for creative individuals to express themselves,” Zamora said. “I know where I came from; I came from working out of my family’s garage, so I know how hard it is to not have a place to create, and I thought I could offer this to people who don’t have a space to work.
“When creative people are in one space, there’s an energy that helps them build off each other, and that’s big for me.”
Memberships range from $15 monthly to $75 annually. A grand-opening event is being planned for this spring.