Sonjia Williams was eliminated on Project Runway in the final challenge before New York Fashion Week, but she says she's still proud of the design that got her sent home.
After winning the previous challenge -- in which the reward was having her design for Heidi Klum's baby clothing line produced and sold at Babies 'R Us stores -- Williams was eliminated for a challenge that tasked the remaining five designers with creating an avant garde look around one of four themes. The 27-year-old from Boston was assigned "seductive temptress."
After the Mood shopping trip, Williams got back to the workroom to find that her gold lame fabric -- which was intended to comprise a majority of the look -- was missing, so she came up with a new design using green material that was inspired by Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
The judges were mixed on the garment, with Heidi Klum loving the color and saying she could see one of several stars wearing it on the red carpet, while Michael Kors said: "It looks like an ice skating costume that Nancy Kerrigan skated through the banquet hall."
For her part, Williams told reporters Tuesday that despite losing her original fabric, she was happy with her finished design and declined to consider whether she might have stuck around longer otherwise.
"I'm not really a shoulda/coulda/woulda person," she said. "I think everything happens for a reason. I would have liked to have had the fabric, but I still made a design that I am proud of."
Being eliminated came as a "surprise" to Williams, who won three challenges, tying with fellow designer Christopher Palu for the most won this season. She called her elimination "mind-boggling."
"I had some inconsistencies, but everyone in the competition had inconsistencies -- no person was always at the bottom," she said. "I also think that I was one of the designers who is the most well-rounded; it was more important for me to show that I can make pants, dresses -- anything you put in my way, I can make it."
But she admitted that her ability to effectively produce different looks might have led to the judges not being able to pinpoint her design aesthetic.
"Maybe in their mind, they didn't know who I was as a designer," said Williams, who didn't see her elimination episode because it was "too hard for me to watch." But, she added, "I didn't want to just have one look. ... It's great if someone recognizes your work, but [not] if it's already similar to something you've made, or if your design aesthetic is closed-minded because all of your stuff looks one way."
As for possibly appearing on a future season of Project Runway: All Stars, Williams said she originally would have said "hell, no" to an offer -- "there is so much craziness that happens with the show" -- but now she might consider it.