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Category: "runway redemption"


Runway Redemption: Bring Your Favorite Designer Back for Season 12!

Posted By kim_messina 12:00pm GMT

It's every "Project Runway" designer's dream come true—a second chance! For Season 12, three former contestants are competing for a chance at Runway Redemption: Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman (Season 6), Valerie Mayen (Season 8) and Kate Pankoke (Season 11). And it's up to you to decide who gets a spot on the Season 12 roster.

Starting today through June 3, fans can vote on myLifetime.com using the poll below, or on Twitter by using these hashtags: #RunwayRamon, #RunwayValerie or #RunwayKate. The winner will be revealed during the Season 12 premiere this summer.

Want to know what Ra'mon, Valerie and Kate have been up to since their days on "Runway"? Read our exclusive Q&A with the designers and see their recent designs:
-Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman
-Valerie Mayen
-Kate Pankoke


Runway Redemption: Vote for Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, Season 6

Posted By kim_messina 12:00pm GMT

Ra'mon-Lawrence ColemanSeason 6's Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman got auf'd in Episode 6 after creating a sci-fi movie look that failed to impress the judges. He back to show everyone that he is, indeed, a strong designer!

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

Since my time on "Project Runway," I have definitely experienced some amazing milestones professionally as well as personally. After returning home, I was approached by Kohl's to help rebrand and relaunch the junior label Mudd as well as oversee the design direction of one of their most successful partnership brands LC Lauren Conrad. After spending a few years making each a success for the company, I decided to make the bold move and finally relocate to NYC with my boyfriend, Brent. Bold isn't an understatement given neither of us had secured a job. However, with a gut feeling and my life savings, something inside said that simply it was time.

Before leaving the Midwest, Brent (a modern dancer) and I went on a trip to London and Paris for some inspiration. While in Paris, to my surprise he actually proposed at a little cafe by the Eifel Tower, in story book fashion. We're currently planning our wedding for next summer! Since that moment, life was been more abundant than I could imagine.

Once we arrived to NYC, I decided to focus on establishing my own label and building a local customer base. This has proven to be a huge task, as stores and buyers have been very wary of on boarding new independent designers in the ongoing economic climate. Thankfully I've made a huge custom clientele that has held sustain me. Mostly due to the continuing "Project Runway" fan base that have been emailing me non-stop asking where they can find my clothing.

A little over a year ago I was approached by JCP, having heard how successful I made LC Lauren Conrad for Kohls' and Mossimo for Target prior, to join them to oversee the design direction for a new collaboration with Nanette Lepore called L'AMOUR. Since it's launch, it's been received with universal praise, socially and financially. I guess this brings me to my ongoing question, if my ideas can make millions for these retail giants, they should be able to do the same under my own name, no?

2. What garment from your season of "Runway" do fans compliment you on the most?
I constantly have people compliment the Electric Green Neoprene Dress that I won the Garnier Surf Challenge with. I think partialy due to the somewhat impossible situation of that challenge, specifically working with Mitchell. But more importantly, a lot of fans were just inspired by my use of the material and dying it by hand. The material has actually become a pseudo-signature for me since then. Funny enough, in the next collections after the show aired, during NYFW there was a huge influx of neoprene as a trend (Even Michael Kors featured it in his collection). So I guess I was ahead of trend on that one…just saying.

3. What are your strengths as a designer at this point in your career?
I know whom I’m marketing my clothing towards and I remain consistent in my perspective of what my brand stands for. So many designers struggle to figure out their "voice," so each collection sometimes can have the tendency to look like a different person designed it. I’ve gone through that stage, and grown because of it. Now, I am not only business minded (given my mass retail background), but also I’ve created a focused and unique design esthetic that is also accessible. That’s what’s really important to me in building a successful business. If it’s not accessible, then it might as well be a hobby.

4. How has your design aesthetic changed since your time on the show, if at all?
I think I’ve evolved more as a contemporary designer. I’m still inspired by architecture and minimalism, but now I approach it with less of a "fantasy" eye. Really I’m more focused on soft tailoring with a quirky spin to it and a sense of practicality. Before, I don’t know if I was as focused on making clothes that were actually wearable. I looked at it more as art as fashion.

5. Why do you think you deserve a second chance?
I've always felt I was dismissed from my season far too soon. Actually, I definitely know I should have made it to Fashion Week. I would have wowed the judges, the industry and the fans. Aside from what has been said, as there were a lot of opinions when I was auf'd, I can account for one thing. Tim was right when he said, "I think too much." I've learned in the last few years to trust my instincts more, and not allow humility to be confused with not having a point of view. The show made me stronger as a designer and an individual. And while life rarely gives you second chances, I think this time around I would be the one for everyone to watch out for if given the opportunity to come back for redemption. Correction, I know I would be.

View Ra'mon's recent work

Rate his "Project Runway" Season 6 designs

Watch Ra'mon's Season 6 Exit Interview:

More Ra'mon videos:
-Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman Video Blog, Episode 6
-Tim Critiques Ra’Mon-Lawrence Coleman: Episode 6
-Tim Critiques Ra’Mon-Lawrence Coleman: Episode 5
-Ra-mon-Lawrence Coleman’s Closet Tour
-Ra-Mon-Lawrence Coleman’s Home Visit
-Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman's Casting Session


Runway Redemption: Vote for Valerie Mayen, Season 8

Posted By kim_messina 12:00pm GMT

Valerie Mayen was eliminated during the textile challenge in Season 8, Episode 10. She is ready to lay it on the all on the runway...again!

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

There's been quite a lot going on in my life since PR8. The year following my season was a good one, filled with crazy schedules, speaking engagements, small endorsements and exciting opportunities for my brand, Yellowcake. I worked tirelessly to capitalize on the momentum and exposure I received from the show. I was met with such positive encouragement, affirmation and support from fans and clients. 2010 was a good year, but 2011 and 2012 were a bit darker with a major breakup from my boyfriend of nearly 2 years and losing my best friend/mentor/mother figure of nearly 8 years to cancer. I also lost touch with my parents and we have yet to speak since November of 2011. Needless to say, there have been good times and there have been bad.

I also traveled to India and Africa since filming PR8. I went to Africa with the HALO foundation to work with young girls in orphanages in Uganda. I taught sewing and textile arts to girls at 5 different homes. I was there for over 2 weeks and plan to return in 8 months to a year to pursue a social enterprise venture that involves sewing and creating educational opportunities for Ugandan women. With my company Yellowcake, we give 5% of our profits to the City mission, a local homeless shelter, and we also firmly believe in domestic production and employing local. It's always been my mission to marry creativity with humanitarianism. Working in Africa and other developing countries is just the start to continuing our mission in the states to countries abroad.

As far as my career is concerned, things couldn't be better! There have been some challenges along the way, but I’m still working as hard as I always have and continuing to grow and build my work and name. 2011 and 2012 were a bit dark and heavy, but 2013 is proving to be my silver lining. At the start of the year I was able to raise a bit of money from a new event I started here in Cleveland called "Hullabaloo"! It's my attempt to start a fun fashion centric event that occurs annually in Cleveland to showcase a more adventurous and theatrical collection of my work. Our first year sold out and was a huge success, allowing me to gain a bit of capital to renovate and expand my small store that i currently have in an urban/artsy neighborhood here in Cleveland. We just opened about a month ago, and though the process was hellish and trying, we have had a positive response and loyal support from patrons. I’ve won a few Cleveland artist grants as well and entered every competition locally that I can to earn/win money for my business. In 3 years I’ve been able to create 4 part time sewing jobs for local women to assist me in producing inventory for my small store, Yellowcake. I’ve also taken on 4-5 interns a year, helping several prepare for design school themselves. All in all, my goal is to make beautiful work, create sustainable jobs and teach others to do the same, but it’s not easy going at it alone. That’s where "Project Runway" comes in.

2. What garment from your season of "Runway" do fans compliment you on the most?
Fans compliment me most on my Marie Claire challenge dress or my dress from the party store challenge. I actually made a modified version of the dress I made for the Marie Claire challenge and it’s been my top seller online ever since! I also made a fabric version of the party store challenge garment for our first annual Hullabaloo event collection. It took me nearly a week and 400 squares of silk cotton and georgette to make the damned thing, but it looks great and was one of the top favorites of the event. Most women love the Marie Claire dress for its function and flattery. Others love the party store dress for its volume and whimsy. I like them both because they are the most indicative of my style and voice.

3. What are your strengths as a designer at this point in your career?
At this point in my career, I’d say my strengths are color and shape. I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 years learning what my client wants, what they’ll pay for certain colors and cuts and how to cater to a certain demographic while still maintaining my artistic vision. I use a lot of bold color and prints in my work and I LOVE using layers, pockets, shape and silhouette to flatter the figure, make a statement or serve a practical wearable need. Most of my clients love my use of stripes, chevrons, layering, pockets and color. Those are the things I focus on when designing and they are my favorite bases to use in my work.

4. How has your design aesthetic changed since your time on the show, if at all?
My design aesthetic has definitely "grown up" for lack of a better word (uh, phrase?). I think my work has become a bit more polished, confident and defined. Where before, perhaps the judges couldn’t see a clear vision or perhaps they felt I lacked a more refined design sense, now, after running my business full time, designing and sewing nearly EVERY day and indulging in the fashion of other cultures far and away, I’ve honed in on my voice. It’s fun, it’s clear, it’s crisp and it’s definitely more me. It’s me, just the grown up, developed, brighter, better, cleaner, more sophisticated, more "you can take me seriously now" me.

5. Why do you think you deserve a second chance?
Are you sitting down for this? It’s a long one…

I know some might think it’s unfair for me to have a second chance, for anyone to have a second chance for that matter. I know the other designers may be new and without any branding or business to their name, while others may be well-seasoned veterans with eons of experience and credentials out the wazoo. I know that some people may think I’m not good enough or capable, but that’s PRECISELY why I deserve a second chance, because I fall in that happy medium between "fresh out of design school student" and "big fashion label employee/freelance designer to the stars entrepreneur." I’m a simple girl, with a simple business and big dreams to do good things with fashion. I know that Heidi, Nina and Michael deep down want the same and I can only hope and pray that I can show them that in Season 12. I am capable, I am driven and I am ready. Ready (or crazy ) to do this all over again. To endure the sleepless nights, the long hours, the bubble guts, the humiliation and annihilation, the stress, the excitement, the uncertainty…I’m ready for all of it because my business, my staff, my friends and my sister depend on it.

I run a small fashion business, I employ 5 women part time, I have over $45,000 in student loans from art school, (Should’ve been a doctor?) I teach over 10-12 interns a year, my little sister just moved in with me from Texas nearly 6 months ago to make it as a pastry chef in Cleveland, my late best friend's children (all 8 of them) are chomping at the bit for me to win this thing for their mom, I just built my first brick and mortar store and now have $20G in loans to friends and the bank to repay AND my shady conman of a contractor swindled me out of nearly $5G in hidden costs and delays…so, that is ALSO why I deserve a second chance. Running a small business is hard enough without outside help and I need this to grow my business and support the people that depend on me everyday. My success is their success.

I’ve struggled all my life with feeling insignificant. Some theories point to middle child syndrome, others point to my parents lack of involvement in my personal and professional life once I left home at 17. When on PR8, I struggled with the same feelings of insignificant when I was never able to earn a challenge win. Several times I came so so close, but never a win. When I was eliminated and even after the show, I sometimes felt overlooked, forgotten or mistaken for someone else. When I was asked to be a part of Season 10's Emmy dress episode, my dress got little attention. I was never asked to write a blog for the show or design garments or products for events. I felt maybe I hadn’t made the impression on the judges and PR as a whole that I wanted to. I deserve a second chance for the sake of redemption. For the sake of a second look at what I can really do when looked at with a fresh pair of eyes. I really think everyone will be surprised.

People are always putting Cleveland down. Making assumptions and judgments based on what the media and Forbes tells them about our condition. But I love it, grit and all. It’s been my home for nearly 12 years and I wouldn’t change a thing about it (except the parking ticket fines). I still aim to prove to everyone that extraordinary things can come out of unexpected places. That the underdog can come out on top. In case you were wondering, I’m the underdog=))

All that to say, I think I could and would make the most of this opportunity. I have too, I need too, I want too. Not just for myself but for my city, my staff, my interns, my family, and for Lisa, my champion. I will fight as hard as I need to redeem myself from my elimination of my season. I have so much more to show (cliché as it may sound) and I think the judges and lifetime will be pleased to see what I’ve got. I've always rooted for the underdog, and honestly, I don't think the judges or some fans gave me the credit that I deserved for the work I did. I think it'd be great to show the world that the little guy can come out on top too. There's never been a Latin American female winner or a winner from Ohio much less. I'd love the opportunity to be the dark horse winner no one saw coming. To challenge the status quo and surprise everyone who thought otherwise. I started sewing on cinderblocks and plywood tables, and now I have a small store to call my own. To be on PR12 and really go the distance, that would be my dream!

View Valerie's recent work

Rate her "Project Runway" Season 8 designs

Watch Valerie's Season 8 Exit Interview:

More Valerie videos:
-Extended Judging of Valerie Mayen, Episode 10
-Valerie Mayen’s Birthday Party – A "Project Runway" Bonus Scene
-Tim Critiques Valerie Mayen: Episode 10
-Valerie Mayen’s Closet Tour
-Valerie Mayen’s Home Visit
-Valerie Mayen’s Casting Session


Runway Redemption: Vote for Kate Pankoke, Season 11

Posted By kim_messina 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