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Scott Hanna and Pamela Ptak have been featured nationally in magazines,  newspapers,  TV,  podcasts.

Today, the school’s groundbreaking academic programs carry forward that mission, making AFI a leader in Bucks County arts education. Our programs deliver a uniquely interdisciplinary education enriched by the resources of New York City and Philidelphia. Our instructors assist each student in the development of their own individual voice & vision while training them with the highest & most competitive artistic & aesthetic standards.

Arts and Fashion Institute™ Study with industry pro - Pamela Ptak, who offers fashion classes in Doylestown PA area.

AFI™ is proud to be awarded as one of the finest art schools in Pennsylvania  with a 5 out of 5 stars rating and the only US school of Haute Couture Fashion whose instructor worked on both the NYC ready-to-wear and the Paris Haute Couture collections of a notable US designer for 3 years. This specialization and rare knowledge are poured into every fashion class taught at AFI™.

Founders of the Arts and Fashion Institute™ Scott Hanna and Pamela Ptak in the gardens at AFI™ photographed by Jim Fogarty
2 high school students from Doylestown PA and Quakertown PA draping stretch knit fabric on dress forms in Pamela Ptak's draping class at Arts and Fashion Institute™ in Riegelsville PA

Interview with Pamela Ptak Project Runway Season 7 Designer

The Baltimore Sewing Examiner, Friday Feb 4, 2010 by Wendy Kaufman

In a past life, Project Runway designer Pamela Ptak must have been a motivational speaker. Okay, so maybe she was an evangelist, or a siren, something like that. Who can really know? What I do know is that she has charisma, and an energy that is contagious. I am sure that she puts this charisma to good use when she teaches, and based on this interview alone, I highly recommend finding any way possible to sample that, first hand. She’s a local girl, residing just north of Philly. She teaches at Drexel, Baum School of Art, and in various cities across the U.S. by way of her “Camp Couture.” She’s available to speak and teach at your sewing event. If you do hire her to speak, she’ll even stay in your spare room instead of a hotel to help save you cash. Now, how can you not want to run out and book her right away while the getting is good?

Ironically, it may have been this effervescent, magnetic and composed personality that caused her to be aufed so soon. Simply said, she was just too much of a goody two-shoes to keep on. To that possibility, she offers “You want an opponent who is going to play the game with you.” Pamela is just not in that “space”. She says she falls in love easily and in the brief time that she was on the show she fell in love with the cast. She sees herself as a Hermione Granger type with a tender heart. That nature kept her from properly defending her burlap look. “Some of the things I could have said to defend, in my impression, they would have caused harm to the heart of someone. And it would have either caused harm to the heart of a model, or it would have caused harm to the heart of a contestant whom I cared for.”

Always the teacher at heart, she had a second agenda for her time on the show. She already knew her skill level was at haute couture level, so she did not try to run practice challenges—those are pretty hard to do outside the confines of the show anyway. It’s all just too artificial to try to duplicate at home. Instead, she chose a way to prepare that was a bit unorthodox, and with a mind toward that second agenda of hers. “I did as much spiritual preparation as I could because I wanted to be a good example to my students: Behaving properly, and not cheating, or slapping someone, or stabbing them in the back. If I held to that high standard, then in my viewpoint, I won by holding to the standard that is the representation, of what a Baha’i would do in the situation.”

It was her faith that helped her find a lot of good in her not continuing on the show. She wanted to show in Bryant Park, but that was not what she had prayed for in her spiritual preparation for the show. She had prayed to God that he would help her follow His will, not hers. She had asked that if anything was bad for her on the show—bad for her soul, her body, her faith—then He should get her off. “I believe it was not the judges who got me off, because their reason for kicking me off was wrong. Didja notice? Hello? The right reason was that you threw your aesthetic out the window. So I really think it was God that got me off the show, not the judges. He used their mouths to do it.” Always the obedient girl, she was happy to go.

It was her obedience that caused her to “go” early in her career as well. Pamela had been dabbling in fashion since she was a small child. Just recently she found some of her childhood fashion collections under her grandmother’s carpet from when she was 5 years old. “It’s even got code numbers on the collection.” Yep. This one had it bad. Still, she left it all behind because of some advice she got at school. She stopped sewing altogether, save for Halloween costumes, for 15 very long years.

“The reason I actually diverged from the path of fashion design was that a very well-meaning teacher at college looked at my portfolio, saw that I could draw and paint and was a painter himself … and strongly encouraged me not to go into fashion, but to do drawing and painting—probably because he loved drawing and painting himself so much. And because I was a very goody two-shoes—you’re going to keep hearing me say that: I was a very goody two-shoes kid, I obeyed adults when they told me things. That may also be partly why when the model wanted short and tight, sporty, and whatever—why I did it too. Because being good, being obedient, being helpful, trying to please people is a part of my nature.”

Being obedient—and getting aufed—paid off this time around. Not that spending years winning design awards for her graphic art did not. It’s just that fashion has always been her first love, and now she is poised to launch herself into the field with the push of Project Runway’s publicity to propel her forward. Being aufed early has afforded her time, and permission, to do things she could not have done had she stayed on longer. “Many, many good things are happening: Getting a showroom in NYC. Showing at Coterie. If I had stayed on for 5 or 6 weeks, it couldn’t have happened, because I would have been in the limbo of nobody knowing I’m off.”

Now that she is off, she is free to root for her favorite to win, and she was very frank about the topic as she gushed about the skill level of the contestants. However, only one can win. She says she likes Ben or Jay or Ping (because of her vision), to win. “I really tend toward designers who actually have skill at pattern making, not just surface decoration. I think surface decoration is beautiful, but if you are working with a silhouette that just every single time: Match the body, stick some stuff on it. Match the body, stick some stuff on it; anybody can do that. They just have to get skill at technical surfaces. To do things that form differently around the body, that to me is much more challenging.”

She certainly has enough ahead of her to provide ample challenges as she moves forward with her ready-to-wear line. “This time it will be 100% my vision, and nobody else will own the clothes.” She says she also brought back a lesson for her students: “You don’t always win, but that doesn’t mean don’t try.” She laughs and adds “I’m a glass half full, can you tell?” Yes, Pamela. We can tell, and we can’t wait for you to spill that half-full glass all over the fashion world.

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