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Buffi Jashanmal, the latest designer eliminated on Project Runway, wasn’t surprised that the judges didn’t like her final design in the competition — in fact, she’s glad they didn’t quite get it.
“They are so different from my aesthetic and didn’t get what I was trying to say, didn’t get what I like,” she told reporters Friday, a day after her elimination episode aired. “I don’t think I did my best, but I definitely see it as Buffi-ish, so if they don’t get it or what I do, then that confirms to me that I knew what I was doing as a designer.”
The 32-year-old from Dubai was cut for the Michael Kors challenge wherein the designers were tasked with making a versatile outfit that could easily transition from day to night for a woman on the go. They also were told to design with an eye toward showing the judges their own individual aesthetic.
Jashanmal created a zebra-print jersey dress with a loose coral chiffon overlay that was pulled together with a black belt. While fellow contestant Christopher Palu — who wasn’t a fan of her design — offered to give Jashanmal some extra black fabric he wasn’t using in place of the coral, she curtly refused and said she would rather be eliminated with a design that represented her point of view than something for which she compromised her aesthetic.
The judges, which included guests Rachel Roy and Hayden Panettiere, were critical in their assessment of the garment.
“This looks really inexpensive,” Heidi Klum said.
Added Kors: “It looks like a hairdressing smock, like she was cutting her hair … There was a fire in the beauty salon, she belted it, and she ran out in her zebra dress. The whole thing is just weird.”
Jashanmal said she felt like none of the show’s regular judges — who also include Nina Garcia — ever provided her with constructive criticism.
“The put me down more than anything,” she said, adding that she didn’t think she had a chance at winning the show.
“If Heidi can’t wear it, she doesn’t like it. If Nina can’t see it in a magazine, she doesn’t lie it. If it has too much color, Michael doesn’t like it. I don’t fit in any of their boxes. But I went into the competition wanting to be true to myself … and not do anything that wasn’t me.”
She said she “100 percent sticks with what I did” and admits that she is unable to design for “a normal everyday woman.”
As for Palu’s offer to give her some of his material, Jashanmal said the two are friends and that she felt bad her reaction made him so upset, even though she doesn’t regret not taking him up on his offer.
Overall, Jashanmal found the competition really “difficult” and “stressful,” but she never thought about quitting, like fellow contestants Andrea Katz, who left without telling anyone in the middle of the night, and Kooan Kosuke, who announced his intention to leave after the designers returned from shopping at Mood. Jashanmal said she was “shocked” about their sudden departures and thinks she would have stayed around an extra week if they hadn’t quit.
“I’m kind of mad at them leaving because I think in the order of people who would have gone, I think they would have gone before me,” she said, adding that “as stressful as [the competition] is and difficult for everybody, and as much as the judges put me down on the runway, it’s part of the process and part of the competition and you’ve got to be able to take it. To not prep yourself for that is a little bit pathetic.”
Jashanmal, who said her dream clients would be Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, added that she has a book coming out next year on dressmaking and sewing that she started before appearing on Project Runway. She also is working on some designs for celebrity trainer Cherie Lily and burlesque dancer Angie Pontani.
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