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If you've been moping because San Francisco designer Emily Payne didn't make it to the final four in Project Runway Season 13, you can stop right now. Emily is doing just fine, thank you very much. "Midway through, I started to realize that the judges just didn't like my aesthetic," Emily explains, "so I felt like it didn't really matter what I made because I just wanted to make things that I would have made anyway. The most important thing to me was getting out there and getting exposure."
Now that she's back in San Francisco, Emily is taking orders for her Leather Tongue ready-to-wear line, preparing to launch a new children's line, contemplating a move, and spending quality time with her adorable daughter, Devon. Want to know what's next for the designer? And who's responsible for her killer hair? We've got the inside scoop!
How would you describe your Project Runway experience?
It was something that I always wanted to do, and it took four attempts for me to get on. When I got on, the very first challenge I was super stressed out and totally scared because I had no idea what to expect. After that, I was totally cool. It was totally fine and I had a lot of fun.
Online, it seems like a lot of people really connected with what you did, even if the judges weren't digging it.
I'm really happy with the feedback —especially on Twitter— that I've been getting. It's all really nice and positive stuff.
Since it would be a different set of judges, would you ever consider doing All-Stars?
Allstars? Yeah, totally. I would never do redemption.
Do you have a favorite designer going into the finale?
I'm kind of torn between Amanda and Kini.
There have been a lot of Bay Area designers on the show: Do you have secret meetings or a support group for each other here at home?
I knew Melissa [Fleis] already because she used to come into Britex a lot. I started hanging out with Richard Hallmarq [after the show]. He just called me a couple of nights ago and asked if I wanted to do a trunk show with him in Benicia and one in Davis, so we're going to do that for the holidays. Then Alexandria Von Bromssen from Season 12 asked me to do her LoveSick show with her. She does a fashion show for Valentine's Day, so we're going to do that together.
It sounds like the show has been great for publicity. Are there other ways that it's benefitted you?
When the kids episode came out, even though I was on the bottom, a lot of people really liked it. I started looking at my [Etsy] shop stats, and in a couple of days I had over 100,000 hits on my Etsy. Normally, I get 10 or 15. That way, I think it really helped a lot. I got a rash of orders on both sites, the women's and the kids. I'm kind of swamped with orders right now. It's a little hard for me because I'm still sewing it all myself. I don't have anyone to help me produce right now, so I'm kind of backed up on kids orders right now.
Do you prefer designing the kids line or the women's line?
I like doing both. It's hard. I feel like if I just do kids, it's hard to stay connected in the fashion scene or have people taking you seriously as a designer. And I'd like to do women's, too, because I like to make myself things. But I like doing both. When I do the kids stuff, it's always for Devon. It's nice to have a muse. She really gets into wearing it.
What's next for you now that the show is over?
I'm trying to put together an [Indiegogo] together because [my husband and I] have always wanted to have a store together, and I think we're going to try to do… a high-end kids' boutique. We're thinking about doing it in Benicia.
Does that mean you would move?
I'm kind of into moving to Benicia. I love San Francisco, but when I went out to do [Benicia Fashion Runway], Devon really, really liked it there a lot... I've got to figure it out. I really want to have a house and want Devon to have a yard.
A boutique and a possible move sound pretty big. Is there anything else we should know about?
I'm working on a new kids line; it's coming out in November… There's also a lady who contacted me who has this magazine called Rawr. She's in Helsinki, so it's like Helsinki kids' fashion; it's super-crazy-edgy and lots of fun, so they wanted to shoot the stuff out there. Maybe I'll sell to some kids' boutiques in Helsinki.
One last, important question. Who does your hair?
Thomas Hane at Vidal Sasson cuts it. Sarah [Classen-Taylor] at DiPietroTodd does the color.
There you have it: Everything you wanted to know about Emily's run on the show. To keep up with this talented Bay Area designer, check out her websites for Leather Tongue and Devon Rose, and follow her on Twitter.
· Emily Payne [Project Runway]
· Meet the Only San Francisco Designer on Project Runway Season 13 [Racked]