Fashion Tribe

Kini Zamora debuts on 'All-Stars'

February 12th, 2016
PHOTOS COURTESY LIFETIMEThe designers learn what their challenge will be. Hawaii designer Kini Zamora is in the front row at right.


The designers learn what their challenge will be. Hawaii designer Kini Zamora is in the front row at right.



Episode 1: What Makes an All Star?

In the debut episode of "Project Runway All Stars," the competition opens with what amounts to a mini documentary of Hawaii designer Kini Zamora's story from "Project Runway's" Season 13.

The opening sequence reminded us of his capabilities, recapping his spectacular win on the rainway and American Girl competitions. I was reminded that I really wanted that American Girl outfit in red check, topped by a black-and-white Chanel-like coat in dress length. Stunning.

It also showed his teaming with Amanda Valentine for a challenge involving turning storage locker discards into a three-piece collection that included a dress made from deflated soccer balls.

He was also victorious in another challenge that had the designers trying to rework losing looks from contestants that had been booted out.

Designer Sam Donovan says that Kini is one of the three or four designers he feels is intimidating because "he can sew like a warlock," referring to his speed, and he calls Kini a genius.

After being reunited with some of the designers from his season—Emily Payne, Mitchell Perry and Fäde Zu Grau—and the other designers, show host Alyssa Milano arrived to say this would be the toughest competition ever and that there is no immunity in "All Stars."

Their challenge: Create a fashion forward look inspired by the moment in your life you knew you wanted to become a designer.

Based on my most recent interview with Kini a few weeks ago, I figured that moment came when he was still in grade school, working alongside his aunt Delilah Patoc.

Sure enough, he talked about the moment at age 10 when he created a sketch and his aunt helped him to sew it into reality, an eye-opening, wow moment for the budding designer.

I never thought of designers as being in a dangerous profession, but the first OMG moment arrives when Daniel Franco—the first to go home in "Project Runway's" inaugural season, and fourth to go home in Season 2—slices off the top of his finger with a pair of scissors.

After that, there's not much mystery as to who might go home. Daniel's ragged suit dress and Mitchell's uncohesive pieced-together Franken-frock look like they're destined for the bottom two.

On the runway, Kini is safely in the middle of the pack for his creation, a black-and-white dress with fitted bodice, collar details and a full skirt.

Valerie Mayen is declared the winner for a top with a lattice pattern of sherbet colors, paired with flirty black-and-white shorts.

Daniel and Mitchell do end up on the bottom, but surprise! The judges tells them they still don't know who they are as designers, allowing both to stay another week.

Stay tuned. I will be recapping Kini's journey each week after each new "Project Runway All Stars" episode airs.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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