Project Runway Rami: They Didn't Want Me There
TheInsider.com chatted with Project Runway: All-Stars' Rami Kashou after his too-soon departure from the Lifetime show. In the exclusive interview, Rami dishes on his design philosophy, being a sex symbol, his shocking exit and whether or not he is single!
The Insider: Your being sent home was quite a shock. How do you feel about going home?
Rami: Well it’s going back to my career, so I feel blessed. Honestly, so many amazing things [that] happened in the past two weeks and before that have truly validated my work, which created a really nice balance. Naturally, it didn’t feel good that day, but I felt that it was something that was beyond my designs and beyond my power to control, and I just surrendered to it, and accepted it. I think the most important thing in a moment like that honestly is confidence and pride in my work. I stand by my design, and I’m so proud that they included the compliments that Georgina [Chapman] said about the jacket because that was a beautiful jacket in my opinion, or sweater I should say. So now I feel okay, I feel fine. You take it, and it’s a game, that’s all it is, and you move on.
The Insider: Why do you think you got sent home?
Rami: I would ask judges and production for that, I don’t really have the answer. I wish I did! I’ll tell you this, I don’t think my outfit deserved to go home, like I said earlier, I’m not delusional. My top could have been better, my design was 90 percent developed with the sweater jacket and the pants. Other designs were struggling and the judges said that about them, but somehow I was the target for that challenge, and I don’t have a clear answer to why. I stand by my design.
The Insider: What did you think of the faceoff aspect of the challenge?
Rami: I don’t think they wanted me there. That’s the honest truth. I don’t think they wanted me there anymore, and I don’t know what their reasons were. If the design was really, truly the explanation, then that’s that and I’ll accept it, but I don’t know nor do I understand it. I honestly put 200 percent into every challenge, I feel like I presented some very strong work, and in the real fashion functional world, my work is appreciated and validated, and that means a lot more to me. But with Georgina, who I respect so much and has such a high level of taste, fairly judges my work then I respect and honor that, and to me her opinion was the only opinion that mattered. I honestly didn’t care what Angela Lindvall, Isaac Mizrahi, or Cynthia Rowley said. It’s not because Georgina complemented me, but because you could feel the sincerity in her judgment, and it wasn’t overwrought or theatrical. But in the end, I will conclude, it’s a reality show, and they turn up the volume.
The Insider: What do you think about the people who have been winning, and the people who have been sent home?
Rami: I honestly didn’t think Anthony [Williams] should have gone home, not because we bonded and became friends, put that aside, because I really don’t feel like his outfit deserved to go home, that was bizarre to me. I think there were other cases where it may have seemed fair, other cases where I feel like judges were helping other struggling designers who have been at the bottom, and then they kept holding their hand and helping them up. I think in my case, I was on top at times, I had never been on the bottom, and so I feel like the one time I was on the bottom I was immediately sent packing, and that was a bit bizarre to me. I honestly really don’t know how to explain it. That’s how I felt that day. That’s how a lot of the feedback on Facebook and Twitter has been, there has been an outpouring support of love and confusion, and it’s nice to know that people feel that way too – its not just me, and I’m not just defending my work, because I don’t feel attacked necessarily, it just somehow didn’t make sense to me. I have to laugh at it because there’s no other way to translate it!
The Insider: There’s a lot of talk about you being a sex symbol -- how do you feel about this?
Rami: It caught me off guard. It mean but come on, it’s a flattery, I blush and I laugh at it, it’s funny. In the end, sometimes there was no air conditioning, and honestly, I broke out in hives, it was so hot in there, and then the lighting and the stress on top of it, there were many reasons why the tank tops were featured more than once. But hey, why not, I work hard at the gym; I’m going to show it off a little bit [laughs].
The Insider: Are you single?
Rami: I am single as of now, yes.
The Insider: There was quite the controversy last night about the whole cheating or copying thing, what do you feel like happened between Jerell [Scott] and Michael [Costello]?
Rami: I hate this question [laughs]. I think, I don’t know, listen this is just from my angle, I saw Jerell’s coat first, and then I saw a version that was very similar by Michael, and then Jerell calls him out on it, and it became a huge production obviously. In the real fashion world, I can understand how that would be understandable, how somebody may honestly be inspired by something, but when you’re in a small crazy room with seven designers and everybody is in each other's face all the time, and we’re competing, and often pushed to the corner by producers and camera men, then yeah, it’s going to be a big deal. I think it’s normal for someone to speak up about it, and I think Jerell spoke up and the win was rightfully his. That just kind of washed it all off.
The Insider: How do you feel about how Joanna handled it? I feel like copying instances happen pretty often on the show, but I’ve never seen anybody say, "So what do you guys all think?"
Rami: The more spice you add to that mix just makes a bigger jambalaya, so the more the better for them. It was definitely the highlight of the whole day obviously for production, but I think Joanna just walked in and she spoke her opinion, and then we all actually spoke about it for the most part, but it seemed like Joanna wasn’t necessarily taking any sides, at least that’s what I got out of it. She did say that in the real world that could happen, but not in a crazy competition like that where people are competing and are on edge.
The Insider: Do you feel like everyone that’s been on this season has been an “All-Star” -- did they all deserve to have that title?
Rami: If I were to go through the cast with you of all the seasons, I would maybe have recommended other people to have been there, or would have had a slightly different pick, but this is all a casting decision, and as we all know, when people cast they have a picture of how they want things to happen. You cast for a reason obviously, not just because you like a person, and so obviously the cast made sense to them. I think there were different people with different points of view, and I think the skill was almost on the same level generally speaking, some were maybe higher than others, but I think in terms of taste and design, and things like that, there were other strong contenders who could have been rightfully cast as all-stars as well. I ask myself, "What is an All-star?" and honestly, I don’t know the exact definition of it. Is it just when everybody goes back and competes again in one big show? Because if that’s the meaning of it, then anybody can come back and compete, it just depends on how you define it I guess. I’m a passionate designer who loves what I do, and I’ve been doing this since I was a child, so whether I’m actually an all-star, I’m grateful for all the support that comes my way, and for people that support my work.
The Insider: What have you been up to since leaving Project Runway the first time?
Rami: A lot of different things have happened since season four. I was fortunate to work with Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop boutique NYC at the Home Shopping Network, so I was there, and I sold out several times with her with different, exclusive designs. I dressed the Queen Rania of Jordan, and I’ve done a lot of great different press and speaking engagements, like at Princeton University, and I think that throughout that, my business grew, and led to just recently collaborating with Bebe about five months ago. I’m launching Rami Kashou for Bebe, and that’s launching March 8. That is going to be a line of really cool bridesmaids dresses that can easily translate as cool, fun cocktail dresses for amazing prices. I’ve also been working with Papyrus stationary, and have been making these in store paper gowns out of their products that they’ve been using for their ad campaigns, but I also have a great line of fashion on paper greeting cards that are in stores at Papyrus now, so go out and check them out. They’re super cool. My childhood dream was to collaborate with Madonna, and I designed her dancers for the Super Bowl, the Egyptian ladies that led the gladiators and Madonna on stage. Those are my designs, and that to me is a big, big stepping stone, so I’m very happy about that.
The Insider: What do you think every woman’s must-haves are?
Rami: One thing I think for sure is that go-to cocktail dress. When you don’t know what to wear, or don’t have enough time to shop, I think you should have a staple cocktail dress, something that you can just throw on and have a great pair of shoes, and not have to over-accessorize. That kind of dress should really have an emphasis on cut and fit. That’s one thing, and key pieces to me are very important. A really good, well tailored pair of slacks, that doesn’t necessarily have to be too much on trend, something more classic. I also think that sometimes a really hot pair of shoes or a bag makes a classic outfit look really cool, so just key pieces. Even if it’s a little bit above someone’s budget, it’s a good investment because it’s timeless.
The Insider: Are there any trends right now that you just really don’t like?
Rami: I think there’s nothing wrong with trends, I don’t like trends on certain people that do not necessarily understand their body types. For example, I’m not a fan of skinny jeans where it’s squeezing out the skin up top, creating a muffin top. I don’t think those should be worn on just anyone. I think there are different cuts for different people. That’s one trend that I just don’t like on the wrong people.
The Insider: What is next for you?
Rami: I am currently filming an exciting pilot and hopefully it will go in the right direction and the right place, so that is something that I’m excited about. I’m working on my next collection, and we’re doing the first launch or Bebe for their bridal launch in Chicago, followed by Miami and LA, so that will be launched in March. I’m working on new cards for Papyrus as well.