Kini Zamora Day
Honolulu Community College hosted a warm homecoming for alumnus and Hawaii's latest "Project Runway" designer during Kini Zamora Day at the school on Oct. 16.
Students and fans filled the Fashion Technology Department's Fashion Lab, where Zamora once honed his skills, though admittedly falling short of being an A-student just because, like fellow classmates, he believes his teachers are taskmasters and A-grades were legendary and elusive.
Obviously, the discipline has paid off because three out of the four "Project Runway" designers from Hawaii, emerged from HCC. They are Jay Sario, Ari (formerly Andy) South, and Zamora. The fourth, Ivy Higa, was self-taught.
Zamora talked about his experience on the show, and generously spent an hour-and-a-half answering questions, and another half hour posing for pictures with fans.
Fans in the audience said that above all, they appreciated his integrity on the show, refusing to get caught up in games and badmouth other designers, which they felt reflected well on Hawaii and he, in turn, credits his maturity level to his parents, who nurtured him well.
We learned from his mom, Valerie, that he was meant to be a star, and his full name, Kini'okahokuloa, means "King of the morning star."
Zamora auditioned six times for the show, and as hard as that was on his psyche, he said ultimately everything he does is for the benefit of his family, for whom he feels he owes the world.
People asked the usual questions about the show that I have covered ad nauseum over 13 seasons, plus additional all-stars seasons.
What I wanted to know was:
1. Did Sean Kelly come clean over "stealing" a win from Kini by taking credit for a blouse Kini designed?
Kini said that Kelly apologized right away, even noting that the whole world was going to hate him for doing that.
2. Did Zac Posen offer him a job?
Posen, no slouch in details, marveled every week over Kini's technique and attention to finishing. Zamora said Posen offered to hire him in a heartbeat if that was what he wanted, but Zamora went on the show to help promote the work he's doing with partner Dean "Dinko" Satta on their Kini and Dinko brand at home and abroad. Their latest collection will be unveiled during Hawaii Fashion Month, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Hawai'i Convention Center.
Zamora played coy as to whether or not he won the season, but no matter where he placed, it's clear he's going places.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.