Fashion Designer Kini Zamora
Before he was a finalist on Project Runway Season 13 and a Project Runway All-Star, Kini Zamora was running his own apparel design business in the islands. According to Zamora, being a contestant on Project Runway reinforced his natural ability to “stick to his guns” (he auditioned for the show six times before making the cut) and trained him not to be discouraged by setbacks and harsh criticism—skills he brought back and stitched into his fashion startup. “You can’t let criticism knock you down,” Zamora says. “You’re going to have people that don’t like you, don’t like what you do, but then you just move on and find another customer that does.”
Zamora’s stint on Project Runway brought him free publicity, networking opportunities and local celebrity, which opened doors for his clothing collection back home. His advice to aspiring local designers is simple.
“To be really honest, it’s hard to be a startup designer here,” Zamora says. “It didn’t happen overnight for me. If this is really what you want, you can make it happen with the right motivation and drive.” Zamora reprised his role as a mentor (à la Tim Gunn) for up-and- coming designers at Goodwill Goes GLAM! in July.