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Project Runway Blog

Runway Redemption: Vote for Kate Pankoke, Season 11

By kim_messina 05/16/2013 12:00PM GMT

Kate PankokeAfter getting the boot for her duct tape prom dress in Episode 7, Season 11's Kate Pankoke is ready to prove she has what it takes to go all the way!

1. Bring us up to speed! What have you been up to since you were eliminated?

Since "Project Runway," it was hard to assimilate back into normal life. I found it almost impossible to relax, I felt like I should always be doing something. This has been great for business. I launched my 2013 bridal collection "Romance in Bloom" for my line Elaya Vaughn Bridal. The collection was launched this April at the National Bridal Market in Chicago where it was very well received. We have also completely rebranded, I think you will like what you see.

I have finally set a date for Zach and I to get married, it is November 16th of this year. We have booked a venue in Savannah, GA. I am not concerned about the filming interfering with planning the wedding. I already have most things in place...all I need to do is show up :-)

I was also accepted into the Chicago Fashion Incubator in March. I am one of 6 designers that were chosen. In the short time that I have been there, I have already learned so much.

It is truly touching how proud Chicago is of me. I was named one of Crain's Business Magazine's 20 in their 20's. I have made several appearances on ABC's Windy City Live, and am now part of their Dream Wedding. Each year Windy City Live selects a deserving bride to get a dream wedding. I am designing a custom gown for the bride. I am so excited that I am getting to use the publicity I have received from "Project Runway" to really give back to the community. I am also participating in a mentorship program called Spark. It is an outreach program to underprivileged middle school students who have a desire to learn about a certain vocation. I am mentoring a little girl named Angelique. She is adorable and fascinated with "Project Runway."

2. What garment from your season of "Runway" do fans compliment you on the most?
There are two garments that people compliment me on, and I honestly think that it is a tie. Everyone loves the gown that I co-designed for Heidi Klum's Surprise campaign, that seems to be a universal hit. The other dress that I get compliments on is surprisingly the duct tape prom dress. People are messaging me asking me to design their prom dresses. Several buyers actually came up to me at national bridal market, where prom dresses are also sold, to let me know that #PromIsLong.

3. What are your strengths as a designer at this point in your career?
I think that my biggest strength as a designer is my ability to stay true to myself and my aesthetic. I am good at coming up with a design and sticking to it; this is critical in a time sensitive situation like "Project Runway." My other strength is fit. I always make sure that my pieces fit my model or customer and that the garment makes them feel good.

4. How has your design aesthetic changed since your time on the show, if at all?
"Project Runway Teams" forced me to really figure out who I was as a designer because if you didn't have a clear view of who you were, you would just get lost. Through this process, I re-discovered myself. My aesthetic is vintage with a sexy flare. I like to make a woman feel sexy by accentuating her silhouette instead of showing skin.

5. Why do you think you deserve a second chance?
I know that no one is ever happy to go home, but I truly believe that I was unjustly eliminated. I was never in the bottom (for my designs) until the duct tape prom dress challenge. The challenge was to design a prom dress out of duct tape that had to be marketable because the designs were going to be voted on by actual high school students. I have been to prom, I have a younger brother who is in high school who has seen what people wear to prom, and I biannually attend National Bridal Market where prom dresses are bought and sold From my sources I concluded that prom gowns should be long. Not every girl wears a long dress, but I would wager that 85% do. If the challenge is to design a marketable dress, then I am going with the 85%. Despite Zac Posen's attempts to defend me and my decision, I was sent home. I think what was most upsetting about this challenge was that it was a double elimination. I don't think Tu or myself should have been sent home, certainly not both. Especially for a dress that later ended up being used in Duck Tape's marketing.

I believe that I deserve to come back because I was a fierce competitor and also a gracious loser. I was happy to come back and help Layana and Patricia with their designs and watch them move on in the competition. I stayed true to myself and my designs and defended my friends until the end. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to compete on Season 11 and will be forever in your debt if I am selected to compete on Season 12! If you put me back in the ring, I promise, I will not disappoint.

View Kate's recent work

Rate her "Project Runway" Season 11 designs

Watch Kate's Season 11 Exit Interview:

More Kate videos:
-Kate the Princess
-Kate’s Strategy to Make an Evening Gown
-Challenge Winner 1 Interview: Episode 3
-Kate Pankoke’s Closet Tour
-Kate Pankoke’s Home Visit
-Kate Pankoke's Casting Session