Fashion Tribe

Zamora stayed true

October 24th, 2014

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“Project Runway” designer Kini Zamora watched the final episode of Season 13 with friends, family and fans at the Safehouse at the Republik in Honolulu on Thursday.  KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.com

“Project Runway” designer Kini Zamora watched the final episode of Season 13 with friends, family and fans at the Safehouse at the Republik in Honolulu on Thursday. KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.com

Click here for photos of Kini Zamora's collection.

I have parrots that engage in a behavior called displacement biting. As wild birds, they are smart but have small reactive brains, so when frightened by something in the distance will respond by biting the closest thing, which could be a branch, or your arm or finger.

And so it was that while watching the finale of "Project Runway" with Kini Zamora, his friends and family, I was hit on the arm a couple of times by the person sitting next to me out of displacement anger caused by his third-place finish.

New Zealand designer Sean Kelly was named the winner of "Project Runway" Season 13, and Hawaii designer Kini Zamora placed third in the TV design competition, behind Amanda Valentine.

"I have no regrets about my designs. I stayed true to who I am as a designer," Zamora said. "I had to please the judges, but I did what I wanted to do."

Friends and family packed the Safe House at The Republik Thursday night where Zamora was watching the episode.

Kini Zamora introduces his New York Fashion Week collection on Thursday's finale of "Project Runway." (Photo courtesy Lifetime)

Kini Zamora introduces his New York Fashion Week collection on Thursday's finale of "Project Runway." (Photo courtesy Lifetime)

At the end of the evening he thanked everyone who attended and said, "I made it to where I wanted to be in this competition and did all that I could do.

"I'm kind of happy to see it's over. I don't have to keep secrets anymore."

Zamora's showing is the second time a Hawaii designer has made it into the top three. Ari (then competing as Andy) South reached the top three in Season 8, finishing behind winner Gretchen Jones and Mondo Guerra.

Another Hawaii designer and Honolulu Community College alumnus, Jay Sario, made it into the top four in Season 7.

This season marked the sixth time Zamora auditioned for the TV design competition. He has been an inspiration to current design students at HCC. At the Safe House last night, fashion technology student Matt Batutayan said he's been studying in fashion part-time for six years, but said Zamora's aesthetic and work resonated with him and has pushed him to be more disciplined in his own pursuit.

One of Zamora's teachers, Joy Nagaue, said, "I truly thought that Kini would be HCC's first winner on

'Project Runway.' Although he was not, we are still very proud of him, his impeccable work, his perseverance and how far he has gone. But as I talked to his mother, I realize that we are really proud of the person that he is, the person he always was ... genuine and good.

"We are proud of the way he represented, not only HCC, but Hawaii as well. My present students have been inspired by Kini and have noted his ability to take criticism and rebound back with a better product each time."

Zamora's mother Valerie said she's known all along her son is a winner, and Zamora's father Duke said he's glad "all the headaches are pau now."

The 2005 HCC alumnus most recently partnered with photographer and fellow designer Dean "Dinko" Satta to create the Kini and Dinko brand. Their inaugural collection will launch during a free fashion show 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Hawai'i Convention Center as part of Hawaii Fashion Month.

PHOTOS COURTESY LIFETIME / nkam@staradvertiser.comKini Zamora's final collection.

PHOTOS COURTESY LIFETIME

Kini Zamora's final collection.

Zamora will appear on the last reunion episode of the series airing next Thursday. I asked whether Char Glover and Korina Emmerich ever make up. Being one really good at keeping secrets, Zamora said, "You'll have to watch."

Hawaii will continue to be represented on Lifetime as Sario returns to "Project Runway All-Stars" Season 4, that begins airing next Thursday.

Sean Kelly's winning collection.

Sean Kelly's winning collection.

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