Auf'd Designer Keith: The Car Challenge 'Was Like Torture'

Photo: Bravo

After facing harsh criticism for his creation last week, Keith Bryce‘s strategy for moving forward with Project Runway was all about reining in his more extreme impulses. Ironically, it was that restraint that sent the 26-year-old designer packing on Wednesday’s episode. Tasked with creating a garment out of car materials, the designer said the challenge presented immediate problems — namely the sewing machines couldn’t even handle the industrial quality material. Calling from New York, Bryce explained why the challenge was so tough and why he suffered from a lack of inspiration this time around. — Brian Orloff

What went through your mind when you discovered your challenge?I’m definitely a conceptual designer, so I wasn’t afraid at all of using the car materials. The biggest thing for me was going to be how the sewing machines were going to hold up with these materials they’re not made to accommodate and it ended up being a nightmare for everyone.

Did the producers not realize that would be a problem? Or was that part of the challenge?I don’t think they realized it was going to be as challenging to use the car materials because even the leather and the seatbelts, nothing was sewing together right. They did give us some industrial tools to use but they were just so minimal. When you’re trying to create clean fashion, it’s really tricky when you don’t have the proper tools. It’s kind of like, “Here. build a building, but we’re not going to give you bricks.”

Right. Plus you have your design to consider.The challenge for me just lost inspiration. The original piece I was going after, I couldn’t achieve because of the materials and the equipment. At that point, I was just like, “What are you guys doing to us? This is like torture.” I wasn’t inspired. It totally affected me.

Do you think your whole look suffered from your lack of confidence?It’s really hard when you have that are like, “Put out your ideas and concepts about what fashion is,” but yet we’re going to continually critique you based on what our personal ideas about fashion are. I’m a young, fresh designer. If you give me positive criticism, and I will run with it and I will grow from it. But if you just tear down my designs … I don’t really know where to go.

You had some real high points though. Have you heard anything more about your winning Lipstick Jungle look?I am making the specific outfit that Brooke will be wearing. I’m hand sewing the whole thing. I’m super excited, and I think that’s why the whole experience last night was so frustrating to me because … I showed that I have no problem tailoring my point of view to what my client would want.

Were you able to really defend yourself?The outfit I created wasn’t something I would ever show. It was something I had tailored to what I thought the judges wanted to see. I was trying to show them that, hey, Keith can do rock and roll. He can do artistic tiling. He can make a dress for a business executive. He can do whatever we need him to do. We just need to step back away from him and let him create. Bravo

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