Samantha Rei

Designer

36, Minneapolis, MN, #DesignerSamantha

When did you realize you had designer potential?
When I was 13. Growing up I wanted to be an illustrator. After Saturday morning cartoons every weekend I would watch fashion shows. One day I thought, “I can do that,” and started tracing images from my comics as my croquis templates.

What is your design training?
My mom always sewed so I was around it all the time, but I didn’t start learning for real until I kicekd everyone’s butts at home economics in middle school. That was when my mom knew I was serious about learning and she got a friend’s old machine for me. I was taught by her until I moved out and then self-taught until I was 25. I went to Minneapolis Community and Technical College so I could say that I went to school. Little did I know that a two year tech program would be the most amazing time.

Strengths as a designer?
I’m stupid fast, I love details and textures and 80 percent of my dresses have pockets. I’ve been between sizes eight and 20 as an adult, so I learned early how to dress all frames. I listen to my clients, know the tenor of a maching acting up from across the room and I’m a wiz at draping versus flat patterning.

View Samantha’s Past Work

Weaknesses as a designer?
I feel like even though I can give good directions, sometimes it’s better if I do it myself, so I can come off as controlling. I take on a few too many projects because I want to make everyone happy. I’m pretty bad at flat pattering because math is hard.

How did you end up auditioning for “Project Runway”?
I almost didn’t. I had auditioned a few times and just wasn’t feeling like I should try again. But a good friend badgered me into it.

Challenge you wish they’d bring back?
I love the unconventional challenge where they had to make something with car parts. I’d kill a seatbelt dress!

View Samantha’s Personal Photos

Challenge you hope they don’t?
The one where they ran around a track.

What’s your take on team challenges?
My biggest issue with team challenge is there’s always someone who doesn’t try and someone who tries to take all the credit, even if they didn’t do much compared to the others. I feel like if more than one person is working, they should all pull their weight, and if they are still learning, be open to constructive criticism. If one person is stronger, don’t be afraid or ashamed to encourage them to take charge. Order get things done, even in the creative business.

Do you think you can win “Project Runway”?
Of course – I’m a winner by nature. It’s what I do. I work hard, build others up along the way and still win. I may take a meandering path, but I can’t in good faith succeed without helping others along the way.