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Project Runway Season 6: Meet Rodney Epperson

We're in the homestretch, bitches, so we have to knock these last couple of suckers out!

Rodney Epperson
Age: 50
Birthplace: New York, NY
Current Home: New York, NY
Favorite Designer: Yohji Yamamoto
Style Icon: None
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Christian Siriano, Season 4

Rodney, who likes to go by his last name, Epperson, is a self-taught designer who grew up in Harlem. In the early 70’s, while still in high school, Epperson began designing and focused on the deconstructed look. He later enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and, although he never completed his formal training, he went on to become a window dresser for Charivari in the 80’s and 90’s and currently does visual design for retailer H&M. He has designed clothes for some high profile clients, one being India.Arie. Epperson and his wife are parents to four kids.

Why he’ll win?
Epperson believes he’ll win because he is coming to the series with a unique approach and feels that it’s all about timing: “It’s my time to shine.”

Tim Gunn: "He is the most senior in terms of design career and reputation. He has a distinguished career. He's elder-statesmanlike."

TimSpeak: He wouldn't listen to me.

We have a feeling that we're not going to have much to say about him outside of his work because he's so low-key we're actually surprised he was cast on a reality television show at all. Clearly, he's got the talent chops, but like it or not, personality goes a long way on a reality television competition. Talent alone rarely wins the prize. We can rail against that all day long, but that's the reality of reality television.

Did we use the word "reality" enough in that paragraph?

As for his portfolio:

There's just not a lot to go on here. We liked the work he showed in his audition. It seems to us he's working that rare blend of conceptual plus practical. If he can handle the time constraints, the judges will probably love him.

As always, check out his page for the rest of the goods.

Tim Gunn's Quotes: Meet Project Runway's Newest Designers! [People]
[Photos: - Videos:]


I like his vibe and his family is ADORABLE!

Can't wait to see what he can produce.

"Clearly, he's got the talent chops, but like it or not, personality goes a long way on a reality television competition. Talent alone rarely wins the prize."

Then how do you explain Leanne?

I like dude. Hope he stays for awhile.

And maybe age will be to his advantage. Maybe he's low-key because he's the seen it all/done it all type, and is just a no-drama-no bullshit type of guy.

Then again, he could be another Vincent *shudder*

I like that he gets stuck trying to think of certain words. I'm his age and sometimes. . .nouns....they can be kind of a problem. LOL

I like him, I'm curious to see more :)

Three words: The Caveman's Valentine.

I like the work in his clothes, but from what was shown, I am not sure I love their overall look. Neither "fussy" nor "busy" is the right word for it, but there is a tendency for just a bit more to be going on than I usually love. But that's personal taste - the work itself is impressive. The Museum of the City of New York (or whatever) dress is the perfect example - I admire it immensely but have no love for it.

I expect to like him - I always prefer the more mature personalities (not always but usually those are the older contestants), though they need the contrasting background of young, tactless and uber-stressed to set them off for t.v.

While he *might* win if he makes it to Bryant Park, I suspect he'll go in the home stretch right before the finalists are chosen. He'll go because, really, he doesn't want/need it as intensely as others & that will show or because he'll completely miss the boat on some dopey "stunt" challenge due to inability to think in that mode. Or maybe because there will be some gut-wrenching "who to send home" decision and the judges will feel better about sending home someone whose career and emotional balance will be just fine whether they do well in PR or not.

I've never known anyone named Rodney who wasn't totally cool.

I like the vibe.

Is he the oldest contestant ever? I think so. I may have to root for him just for that reason alone.

Interesting that Tim knew his work and that both he and Laura seemed to feel that he was too accomplished/successful to want to be on PR. Oh well, I guess everybody wants to be a tv star. But it does raise an interesting question. At what point would they turn down someone for being too established? Considering that this show has such a rabid following and that even mediocre designers no doubt can parlay their PR stint into sales and business opportunities, it's understandable that someone would want that kind of exposure. But is it really "fair" for someone who is at least somewhat successful and established to go up against someone right out of school?

He seems drama-free, even a little boring. But I'm intrigued by his work.

Hmmm. Someone should have submitted Take 2 of their audition video (not that it really matters, since he was obviously cast). I'm not sure there was a single statement or point in that long, meandering, incoherent and stilted rambling. Here's to little camera time for Rodney on the show!

I like it when there's a normal, non-drama queen person in the workroom to compare with everyone else getting bitchy and stressed.

And no WAY is he a Vincent. Nothing "there" there with Vincent. This guy has it.

I swear --- Rodney seems super-familiar to me. And in a real-life way. I'll have to Google him for sure.

I like him. I look forward to seeing the guy in action; workroom, catwalk, etc. I dig the elder statesman vibe and agree with those who posted that its nice to see the contrast of the high-strung and mellow.

Anonymous (12:34PM) said...
Then again, he could be another Vincent *shudder*

God help us all...

- edina -

another laura

I hope he's up for the shenanigans. I don't think he'll get to the finals. Seems like a very nice guy, though. Not that it's worth anything to be a nice guy!

Epperson is so non-typical realiity show persona, that I am really intrigued as to how he will fare. Although there's not a lot to go on to judge his style, I like it and him. And I've gotta be on his side initially just because he's older. If most of us would be willing to admit it, the idea of "look what I made" never goes away, no matter what your age. It feels great to be recognized for your talents, especially in this youth-crazed society that easily overlooks/undervalues the mature accomplishment.

Seems like a cute guy. Kinda like Leanne (Judy Noodles) from last season. Could be a dark horse. Sometimes it is good to have some non-dramatic people.

The issue of at what point does a designer become too successful or accomplished for Project Runway is something that will always loom. I think it really started to come into play for S4

By S3 the industry was taking the show seriously and people could see the advantages of the exposure of the show. Certainly someone like Rami bring the discussion to mind. Rami is a talented fellow who was having pretty good success with his gowns. So was it really fair he be allowed on the show? Technically he was established but certainly not on the level of other designers who have brands in department stores. And after his season ran the number of Rami gowns on the red carpet greatly increased to an exponential level. So I think the argument could either way. There's successful and then there's successful

Ideally you would like every contestant to be more like Christian (or Jay or even Chloe) someone with little experience or who's yet to make a real impression on the fashion scene. Then again Christian is that wonderful lucky fluke that PR can champion with pride and justify their existence. A truly unknown talent they "discovered" who made good tv, yet likeable, who is producing collections after winning and learned & built from the earlier winners on the importance of branding yourself to further success.

I think ultimately people have to consider that being a good designer-even an established one-doesn't guarantee a good or successful PR contestant.


It's odd that the elder statesman has such a meager portfolio.
The dress on the right looks interesting. But sketches and illustrations are hard to go by.

So, I'm pretty sure he did those sketches in third grade, but I mean, what did Laura get so excited by? Every other grandmother can do that! And the rest of his work just looks SO BASIC IT HURTS.

I think he looks like Bobby McFerrin


mll said...

Epperson is so non-typical realiity show persona, that I am really intrigued as to how he will fare.

I feel the same way; will he survive the pressure to be funny or the bitch or "interesting" to make the cut? Because you know that when the "judges" have to decide between the bottom two, they'll go with Mr. or Miss "personality." So, let's hope he produces great stuff and doesn't have to worry about it.

He's cool, I like him.

I know, 1:40 pm. I couldn't watch the video without hearing...

"Hear's a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note...Don't worry. Be happy."

Now that you've seen the first episode, this almost seems like cheating :)

Btw, is it not weird that Bravo continues to do their PR marathon days when Lifetime is about to start its season?

8/14/09 1:05 PM I swear --- Rodney seems super-familiar to me. And in a real-life way. I'll have to Google him for sure.

I KNEW someone was going to mention Bobby McFerrin!

Me likes him :)

I love the shape of some of his sketches, they remind me of Comme des Garcons for some reason.

I like him. I hope he maintains his calm, cool manner, though it will be difficult if the screecher Shirin gets too close to him!!!
I have a feeling he will at least get into the top 5.

I was feeling a little bored by him, in a nice way, but then I watched his closet tour video. A little bit of a charming, jokey personality starts to peek through in that - combined with his adorable wife and baby, I think he's now my fan-fav. Hope he stays around for awhile; the drama's gotta be there but I always need the tranquility of the sane people in my reality tv!

I could be misremembering, but wasn't Marla fifty of fifty-one? I like Rodney so far, he seems very genuine (admittedly, it's not a very high bar on reality shows, even one with PR's "cred"). His portfolio is oddly empty, but I love that wedding dress. I don't think he's another Vincent (please, God, no). Vincent's crazy was pretty apparent even from his audition video.

For someone that much experience (I mean, Tim knew him), I'm surprised there's not much of a portfolio.

His family is sweet : )

The portfolio's pretty bland.

Hannah said...The portfolio's pretty bland.

Maybe this is because Rodney does not own the rights to the majority of the design work he has done in the last 10 years???? Just food for thought because I cannot think of another explanation for someone all the audition panelists seemed to know on a more than "hello there" basis.


32 posts? Aw c'mon man. Show more love for this brotha.

Wow, Rodney. Talk about a time warp for me. I still have a hat he made that I bought from him in 1990 when I worked with him. We used to design clothing together which he would produce for the mannequins in the display showroom I managed design and outfitted.

From what I can see, I really like the black cape thing from the first video. But I have to go along with soe of the other posts - why only two pics and the rest are sketches?

Anonymous at 8/16/09 said 3:07 AM "32 posts? Aw c'mon man. Show more love for this brotha."

I think Epperson is the Cary Grant type as in "Never COMPLAIN! Never EXPLAIN!". It will be interesting to watch someone who clearly knows what they are doing and what they are getting into.


8/17/09 8:44 AM Anonymous at 8/16/09 said 3:07 AM "32 posts? Aw c'mon man. Show more love for this brotha."

I think Epperson is the Cary Grant type as in "Never COMPLAIN! Never EXPLAIN!". It will be interesting to watch someone who clearly knows what they are doing and what they are getting into.


If I remember seeing some of this year's preview, he does end up butting heads with another designer (no doubt a team competition). It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

I pity the fool designer who makes Rodney shake his tresses. There are beads and s#$t in those things.

All in all, he's one I'm eager to watch work.

I'm very curious to see what the older designers are going to produce. It's about fucking time an older, more experienced designer gets any recognition.

He will blow your mind, wait until you see his gowns.

This guy is sort of an unknown quantity to me. It seems that most of his experience is as a "visual designer," which I understand as designing displays and store windows.

The sketches don't do much for me. I'd like to see more of his finished work.

i don't know what everyone is talkin' about...
Epperson is going to win

finnally a person with talent who doesn't have to "ham it up" and "create drama for the camera".

good point
drama has nothing to do with being a designer
as a matter of fact a designer that creates drama would be a bad investment for investors
Epperson is a talented man with integrity - no drama and straight up is nothing but good for business
Go get 'em Epperson!

Say Word Saraf!

hello everyone. reading everyones thoughts has been quite interesting. The majority of the blogs are truly accurate. Some are actually funny. thank you for expressing your feelings. This is a new time were in. We must take the good with the bad. keep them coming. A Special thanks to Tom and Lorenzo. All Be BLESSED. Epperson

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Epperson is so cool it will be very interesting to watch
the show.



Do it like nike
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I KNOW I've seen him on another show! I can't remember...grrrr!

Epperson is sooooo cool i like him.

i work with him on 86th and lex ave in nyc

I am a fan! I loved his first dress. It was like Lady Dracula and Bride of Frankenstein jumped in a time machine, fused into one, and landed on the red carpet of some formal event. Loved the huge bow. I am 5'-10", slender, with broad shoulders, and I could rock that dress. Loved his ivory pantsuit that got NO attention. Can't wait to see what he does next.

And yes, there is a place on reality TV for a thoughtful, quiet gentleman like Epperson.

i loved the outfits u made with Christopher Straub!! I so thought u 2 would win i thought they looked amazingggg <33

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! omggggg! i cant believe u had to leave! omg! i really liked the dress the judges hated! i so thought u where going to be safe

BALMAIN for women

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