If you’re a “Project Runway” fan, then you probably already know about tonight’s All Star finale. The competition is down to three designers: Ken Laurence, who came in 8th place during season 12, Kini Zamora who ended up in third place in season 13. And Dom Streater, the Philadelphia native who was crowned the winner of season 12. All three are exceptionally talented but there is something about Dom Streater’s designs that are just unlike anything we’ve ever seen. From her ideas to the patterns and the ultimate execution, Dom has “it.”We had a chance to chat with her in anticipation of tonight’s finale. See what she had to say about her intro into design, how “Project Runway” has helped her and her biggest threat going into the final challenge.
When did you know fashion and design was a passion of yours?
I asked for a sewing machine when I was about 8 or 9. I just basically taught myself how to use the machine. I would play around with it making little clothing for my Barbie dolls and just sewing random things together. Eventually, that just grew into a fondness for sewing. But I didn’t really consider it as a career option until high school, my senior year of high school. And that’s when I really made the intuitive decision to pursue it and study it. So I decided very late, my senior of high school that I was going to go to art school and study fashion design as a major. And that’s when it took a turn for me because I was in it 24/7 at that point. After I went to college, a few years later I did “Project Runway” so it all happened really fast for me.
How did being on “Project Runway” change your career?
It gave me a career! I didn’t have a career before “Project Runway.” I had a few internships under my belt but I didn’t really have a ton of experience as a designer. I was unknown in the fashion industry. No one knew who I was. It was platform to get my name out there, getting the exposure I needed and for people to recognize that I had this idea for a brand. And that was my stepping stone to being able to do it full time.
I know I was on your website earlier today and a lot of things were sold out.
It’s like as soon as I get stuff up there, they’re like vultures. I feel so bad! I’m not making stuff fast enough. And I’m 8 months pregnant so basically I can’t even make stuff as fast as I want to anymore. So it’s become this mad dash to create stuff for people to buy which is not a bad problem to have, it’s just really insane.
You’re known for your prints and patterns. What inspires those?
It depends on whatever collection I’m working on at that particular moment. The most recent, full collection that I did on my own actually did have some African inspiration in it. It was Rwandan print inspiration in the background so you can see a lot of that in the details. The collection I did before that was inspired by aerial photography of the ground. So it can vary widely. But I try and do every collection—even though the inspiration is different– I try to make sure that the prints are still recognizable, that they still have my hand on them. So you can look at them and tell, ‘Oh, that’s probably something by Dom Streater because it looks like her.’
Do you feel like Sam stayed in the competition too long?
Yes and no. I do feel like Sam has a voice as a designer. There are things that he wants to do and he has these really great ideas. I think what Sam’s issue is, he doesn’t have enough experience and he’s not able to execute those in a proper way. And I think the judges saw that he had potential but week after week you slowly saw that he couldn’t really execute his ideas in a way that he wanted to which eventually led to him being let go from the show.
Who would you say is your biggest competition going into the finale?
Definitely Ken. Well… I feel like they’re both competition for different reasons. I feel like Ken really knows his woman and knows his aesthetic and the types of clothing that he wants to make. And Kini is a really, incredibly fast sewer and we have to do this collection in four days, which is kind of insane. So they’re both threats for very different reasons.
You can find, and if you’re lucky, buy some of Dom Streater’s work on her website DomStreater.com.
The “Project Runway All Stars” finale airs tonight on Lifetime at 9/8c.