Kahindo Mateene

Age 34, Chicago, IL - Out Episode 2
out

Describe your family.?

I am the 4th of 5 siblings. I have 3 older brothers and one younger sister. Both my parents are deceased.

Current occupation?

Fashion designer and owner of Modahnik.

Past jobs?

Human resources specialist (resigned May 11, 2012).

When did you realize you had designer potential?

After I showed some of my designs to some friends and they put in orders.

First garment you ever made?

My senior collection from design school is the first pieces that I made that I am really proud of.

What's your design training/schooling, etc.?

I have a BFA in Fashion Design from the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and a BA in International Business & Economics, minor in Spanish, from Blackburn College.

Strengths as a designer?

Use of color and prints as well as designing to accentuate a woman's body. Attention to detail.

Weaknesses as a designer?

Draping.

What are your influences?

My African culture and heritage. Travels to places such as Puerto Rico and Cape Town.

What's playing on your iPod when you're designing?

Eclectic mix, which includes Adele, The Script, P-Square (Nigerian artist), Mbilia-Bel (Congolese artist), Madonna, The Voice.

Favorite material or fabric to work with?

Bold, colorful prints.

Item you're most proud of designing?

My Spring-Summer 2013 collection from my brand Modahnik.

Favorite designer(s)?

Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou.

Sketch or drape?

Sketch.

Patterns or solids?

Patterns.

Favorite colors?

Yellow & blue.

Biggest fear as a designer?

Not being successful.

Fashion must?

Color.

Fashion faux pas that drives you crazy?

Tights as pants.

Ugliest item of clothing/accessory you've worn?

Hated my green boarding-school uniform.

Favorite style icon?

Michelle Obama and SJP.

What would you design for the First Lady?

An off-the-shoulder tailored pencil dress in a bright, bold print.

Celebrity you wish you could design for?

Jessica Chastain for a movie promo event. I would combine a bold print with leather details into a dress that has long sleeves, a pencil skirt and an open back detail, to show off her curves and give her a feminine look with an edge, and of course include pockets.

Favorite supermodel muse?

Naomi Campbell

If you had to name your label, you'd call it...?

Modahnik (an anagram of my first name, Kahindo, and last initial, M).

If you weren't designing, you'd be...?

A philanthropist.

Places/cultures you wish you could design for?

Brazil and India.

Dream place to set up your business?

Between New York and Cape Town, South Africa.

Websites that feature your work?

www.modahnik.com, facebook, pinterest, instagram, twitter, www.vileandvaliant.com, www.sapelle.com, www.wafwako.com, www.modavanti.com

How were you described as a kid?

Shy.

How are you described by your family and friends?

Outgoing, passionate, loyal and ambitious.

Why do you think you're easy to live with?

Because I am funny and love life. Why aren’t you?

Favorite hangout?

At home with some wine and good company.

Hobbies?

Dancing, listening to music and travelling.

Favorite movies and TV shows?

"Scandal," "Shameless," "The Following," "Game of Thrones"

Favorite books/authors?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "Twilight" books, autobiographies.

Favorite websites?

www.redcarpetfashionawards.com, www.Trendland.com, www.TheSartorialist.com, www.missmilliworld.com

Your Twitter handle?

@modahnik

Favorite Twitter accounts?

Mindy Kaling, Vogue Italia, June Ambrose, DKNY PR GIRL, BellaNaija, Solange Knowles, Style Pantry, MTV Base Africa, Al Jazeera

iPhone/Android/Blackberry?

Android.

Fast food or gourmet?

Gourmet.

Cooking or takeout?

Cooking.

Favorite foods?

Ethiopian, Nigerian, Congolese.

Beer or wine?

Wine.

Guiltiest pleasure?

Chocolate and reality TV.

Biggest pet peeve?

Bad manners.

How did you end up auditioning for PR?

After 3 failed attempts I was encouraged by the casting director to try again.

Favorite past PR designer?

Nick Verreos.

Challenge you wish they'd bring back?

Duct Tape.

Challenge you hope they don't?

Pajamas/Bedsheet.

Your take on team challenges:?

I'm up to the challenge, so I am fine to work in teams or alone.

What do you look for in a model?

Attitude and their walk.

Do you think you can win "Project Runway"?

Yes, I plan on winning "Project Runway." I am up to the challenge as well as being very ambitious and tenacious. I work well under pressure, and it's time they selected a Black (African) female winner (Moi).