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'Project Runway': James Martinez on His Big Regret, the Challenge of Working in Teams

The designer was forced to scrap his original creation after Tim Gunn called it a "construction disaster."

James Martinez, inset, and the design that got him eliminated
Lifetime

The teams twist is starting to rear its ugly head on Project Runway.

While last week's premiere saw the season 11 designers still able to create looks that reflected their own aesthetics, this week, the teams were forced to collaborate and work together on their designs.

The challenge centered around creating uniforms for staffers at SPiN, a chain of "ping-pong social clubs" owned by Susan Sarandon (who also served as guest judge). Specifically, they were asked to design four server uniforms (three female and one male) and one ballboy uniform, the latter of which had to incorporate the slogan "Balls Are My Business," with a budget of $500. The designers spent some time working in both capacities to get a feel for what  kind of garment might be best suited for the people in those jobs.

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Once again, the members of the struggling "Dream Team" found themselves the losers, with James Martinez bidding auf wiedersehen to Heidi Klum and Co. The 29-year-old from Dallas expressed his intention to do things his own way rather than listen to his teammates' advice, but he scrapped his design and started over after mentor Tim Gunn called his first look a "construction disaster" and his teammates agreed.

The finished product ended up being a tank with a pair of capri pants, which Klum described as "surfer dude." On Friday, Martinez told reporters in a conference call that he would have stuck to his original plan if he'd had it to do over again.

"I would have stuck to my gut feelings," he said. "I made one garment initially, but because it wasn't coming out the way I was talking about, they told me to scratch it and start over. I had about two hours [left]. Sticking with my gut feeling would have been the best choice."

While he said he didn't necessarily agree with the judges' comments, he does respect their opinions.

As for why his team is struggling, he thinks there are "too many chiefs and not enough Indians." He thinks he would have gone farther in the competition had this season not featured the teams twist.

"I think I was very focused on trying to be a team player," he said. "That's what really got me absorbed, and I do definitely believe that if it would have been individual [challenges] as previous seasons I would have gone farther. It's definitely hard when you want to please your teammates."

Project Runway airs at 9 p.m. Thursdays on Llifetime.

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