It was a fashion face off to the finish among Seth Aaron Henderson, Emilio Soso and Mila Hermanovski, but there could only be one champ. Seth Aaron was crowned the winner of season 7 Project Runway! The Vancouver-based designer earned $100,000, an editorial feature in Marie Claire and a $50,000 technology suite from Hewlett-Packard to create, design, and run his business.
The NYLA Report caught up with the spiky-haired fashionisto to discuss his big win, making Tim Gunn get on a trampoline and designing for Lady Gaga.
Well first of all, it must feel nice to tell the world that you’ve won this thing after months of keeping quiet.
[Laughs] I know, right? Yes, finally. It’s definitely a relief.
You were one of the first people to define your aesthetic on the show. Was that intentional to establish that early on and how did it help you throughout the competition?
I mean, yeah, absolutely. You’re there, and the [judges] don’t know who we are. The judges, they don’t see any past or previous work, anything. So the first challenge was, “Who are you?” Well, I know who I am. So that’s what I showed them. You have to stay consistent. The other designers — all the others were amazing, and they were really good at what they did. But I think the problem was for each challenge, they were kind of up and down, and that’s why they were in the top and the bottom, or the middle. It was just important to show who you were and stay with it.
I must say, it was pretty awesome to see Tim Gunn jumping on a trampoline at your house.
Was that fantastic or what? You know, he’d never been on a trampoline. He told me that. He noticed it in the backyard, and I said, “Guess what, you’re going on it now.”
Tim gave you a harsh critique about your final collection before Bryant Park. When he told you to eliminate most of what you’d made, how did you react?
It was pretty great. Number one, it was awesome to have him at my house. He spent the whole day there, so he feels like family now. His critique was totally expected. For me, I expected that from him. I stuck with my plan originally still. I mean, the first portion, the pre-collection I had done — it was totally expected of me. I had my second part to complete, which is what you saw on the runway. I didn’t change plans. I guess he confirmed what I already knew.
I noticed you and Emilio had a great friendship and you guys were neck and neck until the very end. From winning the competition, has it affected your friendship with him?
I was actually with him last week here in New York and yes–we still have a great friendship. Of course everybody wants to win, but he’s very excited for me and we have a mutual respect. If he would have won, I would have been excited for him. It was entirely a personal choice and a matter of personal taste of who won.
What can we expect to see from your collections in the future?
Just taking risks and pushing myself and pushing innovation, just going from there. I have several different collections I’ve thought of over the last six months that can stand alone and make an impact. When it comes [to decide] which one I’m going to go with [I don’t know]. I may focus on getting the manufacturer and the affordable ready-to-wear into a department store. That’s a big job in itself so to get that established and utilize the money I won to make that happen would be a good thing I think, because then I could sit back and not worry about production or finances and let it play through and focus on the more creative stuff.
Is there any celebrity you’d love to see wear your designs?
I’d probably start off with Gaga because it’s so out there!
Last question: The reunion. Was it an easygoing or hostile experience? It appeared both ways for the viewers at home.
In general, we all got along… pretty well. Or I got along with everyone just fine. There was a little bit of everything, actually. So I mean what you saw, it was like that. It was laughing, and getting along, and then, “What do you think?” or “What happened here?” Then there were some words thrown, and… it really happened that way. It’s a reunion!
Thanks Seth Aaron! We wish you much success and we look forward to your upcoming collection! 🙂