The official site for "Project Runway" Season 13 offers video, designer portfolios, Rate the Runway, blogs and more.
Age 28, Brooklyn, NY - Out Episode 11
QDescribe your family. AI come from a really creative family. Growing up my dad was an art teacher, my stepmom was a drama teacher and my mom was a nurse. My two older sisters and I were constantly working on art projects, crafts and reading books. Music was a huge part of my upbringing. The things that are most sentimental to me are song lyrics and the memories they bring up. We pass down albums not material things. A couple staples in our family are Heart’s Dreamboat Annie and Paul Simon’s Graceland. Those albums are my childhood. My family is a huge support and raised me and my sisters to be confident and to go out and get what we want. Today one of my sisters works in the culinary industry and the other is a makeup artist. We grew up to do what we loved because we weren’t taught to settle and knew the value of hard work.
QCurrent occupation? AI manage a high-end consignment shop in SoHo called Roundabout.
QPast jobs? AI've always worked on the retail side of the fashion industry.
QPets? AZombie! A black and white tuxedo cat!
QNicknames? AI was named Korina with the purpose of calling me Kori for short. If I hear someone yell out “KORI!” I know it’s someone I grew up with. Also my dad is the MASTER of nickname giving. I had tons of nicknames including Keena (because my sister couldn’t say Korina), Kokanee (after the salmon because we all had fish nickname) Kokomo (after the Beach Boys song) Korina, Korina (after the song), Koach (I guess because my dad was a football/wrestling coach for a while), Kochina (a variation on Koach).
QWhen did you realize you had designer potential? AI’ve always been an artist. I remember becoming obsessed with my oldest sister’s old copies of Marie Claire she had lying around and reading the same magazines over and over again, secretly ripping out pages. By the 8th grade I sat thinking what I wanted to do and definitively decided to be an artist, using fashion as my medium. It was a very thought-out decision. I’ll never forget that thought process.
QFirst garment you ever made? AThe first thing I ever made myself was my Jingle Dress Regalia for powwows (I was 13 or 14). My sister was a Fancy Dancer (shawl dance) and I always wanted to be a jingle dress dancer. I thought they were the most beautiful dresses on the powwow circuit. It was a combination of all of my favorite power colors, red, orange, and yellow with gold jingles (probably around 300-400, it was very heavy). The jingle dress is known as the healing dress and the prayer dress. Each jingle has a prayer and when you dance the prayers are released. The first time I danced my jingles started falling off one by one (a nod to my inexperience in sewing). I was devastated. It’s a big deal for regalia to fall apart at powwows. The whole community reassured me it was ok and supported me. I clamped all the jingles and they never fell off again. I’m not sure that I ever would have sewn again if it weren’t for the outstanding support of everyone that day.
QWhat's your design training/schooling, etc.? AI graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Apparel Design form the Art Institute of Portland.
QHave you won any awards for your designs/work related to design? AI won a Dr. Marten’s competition for redesigning the classic eight-eye steel-toed oxblood Doc into a heeled boot called “Hell on High Heels.” I was also chosen as one of six to show in Portland Fashion Week after graduating.
QStrengths as a designer? AThe design process is my strength. Coming up with a concept and idea.
QWeaknesses as a designer? AI’m not the strongest seamstress.
QWhat are your influences? AI’m heavily influenced by music. Every collection I’ve done has been inspired by a band or genre. I did a collection called “Purple Haze” inspired by Jimi Hendrix, a collection called “Hot Love” inspired by Marc Bolan and T. Rex, a collection inspired by “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin. Brazilian psychedelic bands like Os Mutantes inspired my last collection.
QWhat's playing on your iPod when you're designing? ARecently I’ve been listening to Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators, Talking Heads, The New York Dolls, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin, Television. David Bowie, Iggy Pop and the Stooges. I’m working on a lot of custom leather jackets so I have to keep in that mindset.
QFavorite material or fabric to work with? ALeather.
QItem you're most proud of designing? AMy motorcycle jacket.
QFavorite designer(s)? AAlexander McQueen will forever be my favorite designer and artist. Right now I love Phoebe Philo, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Comme des Garcons, Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Balenciaga.
QSketch or drape? ASKETCH!
QPatterns or solids? ASolids.
QFavorite colors? ABlack and white. Green is my favorite color to look at but NOT to wear.
QBiggest fear as a designer? AFailure.
QFashion must? ALittle black dress.
QFashion faux pas that drives you crazy? AUggs or flip-flops. Just stop.
QUgliest item of clothing/accessory you've worn? ACargo pants.
QFavorite style icon? ARichard Hell, Jimi Hendrix, Tilda Swinton, Anita Pallenberg, Bianca Jagger, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, The Ramones, The Shangri-las, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Jackie Kennedy.
QWhat would you design for the First Lady? AA killer jumpsuit.
QCelebrity you wish you could design for? ASophia Copolla, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett. I love these women who have a classic edge to them. It’s a lot of what I design. I would also love to design for strong female musicians. Anyone who’s confident, powerful and badass.
QFavorite supermodel muse? AErin Wasson.
QIf you had to name your label, you'd call it... AEmmerich NY.
QIf you weren't designing, you'd be... APlaying music.
QDream place to set up your business? ANew York.
QWebsites that feature your work? Awww.emmerichny.com
QHow were you described as a kid? AQuiet, shy, reserved. But I wouldn’t let people tell me how to do things. I still don’t.
QHow are you described by your family and friends? ADriven, confident, honest, blunt.
QWhy do you think you're easy to live with? AMy roommates and I are all adults; we communicate, help out, and respect each other’s space and belongings. They would probably say I spend too much time locked in the bathroom getting ready in the morning. The morning is my alone time.
QFavorite hangout? ALower East Side.
QHobbies? ADrawing, listening to music, looking at interior design and art magazines.
QFavorite movies and TV shows? A“True Romance,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Almost Famous,” “High Fidelity,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Empire Records,” “The Boyfriend” (by Ken Russell starring Twiggy), “Clockwork Orange.” I love anything Stanley Kubrick.
QFavorite books/authors? AAnything by J.D. Salinger, “I Dreamed I was a very clean Tramp” by Richard Hell, any rock biography or autobiography. Anything written about or in the ‘60s or ‘70s.
QFavorite websites? ASartorialist, NYMag The Cut.
QYour Twitter handle: A@emmerichny
QFast food or gourmet? AGourmet.
QCooking or takeout? ACooking.
QFavorite foods? ATomatoes.
QBeer or wine? AWINE.
QGuiltiest pleasure? AGummy bears.
QBiggest pet peeve? ALiars and phonies.
QHow did you end up auditioning for PR? AIt was actually my dad’s idea for me to audition after I graduated college. I decided to go for it and made it to the finals but didn’t make the show. I was devastated. But it lit a fire under me and I moved to NY a couple months after. I’d never been to NY in my life. I sold everything I owned, packed 2 suitcases and a cat and got a one-way ticket. I vowed not to try out again until I KNEW I could win. 5 years later, here I am.
QFavorite past PR designer? AI have mad respect for Seth Aaron. He was 100% himself the whole season. That’s the most important thing.
QChallenge you wish they'd bring back? ABroadway costume challenge!
QChallenge you hope they don't? ARedesigning a wedding gown :/
QYour take on team challenges: AI understand the importance of working with a team, but when you’re in a room full of headstrong leaders? That’s a game changer and a major challenge.
QWhat do you look for in a model? AATTITUDE. I love individuality in models. I love diversity in height, weight, ethnicity, hair color no hair, long hair anything! Every model gives a different feel to each look. But the one thing I always look for is ATTITUDE. I design for tough women- that needs to be portrayed.
QDo you think you can win "Project Runway"? AI wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t believe I was ready to win “Project Runway.” My work is current, interesting and wearable. I design for today’s woman. Strong and confident. I’m ready to take on each challenge that arises during and after the show. I’m not here because I just want to be on TV- I’m not here for my 15 minutes. I’m here to win and that’s my step number 1. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for those of us who don’t have all the connections, who weren’t born into a rich family. The only thing that matters is our skill and drive. I’m so excited to show everyone what’s up my sleeve.