"Project Runway" judges gave the boot to a Minneapolis-based fashion designer on Thursday.
Samantha Rei was the sixth Minnesota designer to appear on the Lifetime show.
A fixture of the Twin Cities cosplay and fashion scenes for more than a decade, Rei credits storybooks and Japanese pop culture for her design inspirations. The 36-year-old designer is known for her work in “Lolita” fashion, a Japanese subculture that highlights ruched bodices, flounced sleeves, ruffled skirts and Peter Pan collars.
Rei had a hard time showing off her feminine, punk-infused sensibilities to “Project Runway” judges. She landed in the bottom for several weeks, with judges saying that the clothes she designed for herself were more creative than her designs for models on the show.
Critiquing Rei in her last episode, judge Nina Garcia said she preferred Rei’s gold dress with leather harness to the black lace dress she made for the runway. Other judges said her designs looked more like costumes.
“In the end, your own outfit keeps on outshining the one that you’re making,” judge Heidi Klum told Rei, before telling her “Auf Wiedersehen.”
Rei ended the show in tears, saying she was disappointed in herself for not going further.
“Self-doubt, it’s really always been the thing that’s held me back and even though I love what I put down the runway, I know there’s a part of me that probably held back because I was scared they wouldn’t get it.”
But she was also looking forward. “I’m hoping I can use this as fuel,” she said.