Vancouver all-star designer sounds off

Seth Aaron Henderson, winner of season 7 of ‘project runway,’ weighs in on ‘all stars,’ awaits debut of new line

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Vancouver fashion designer Seth Aaron Henderson was in New York City during filming for the “Project Runway All Stars” premiere and saw portions of the episode unfold live. However, he didn’t know the results until he watched it on television like everyone else.

Not that he didn’t have the option. Producers offered to tell Henderson, winner of the seventh season of the design reality television competition “Project Runway,” which of the 13 fan favorites from previous seasons won the first “All Stars” challenge, and which was eliminated, but he opted to be surprised when the show aired on Jan. 5.

“I don’t want any spoilers, and I would hate to spoil it for someone else,” said Henderson, 40.

Henderson recently chatted with The Columbian about his predictions for “Project Runway All Stars,” whether he’d make a return to reality television and his clothing line, SETHAARON. The following interview has been edited for space and clarity.

What did you think of the “Project Runway All Stars” premiere?

I liked it. A lot of my friends are on there, a lot of people who I feel bring diversity in terms of design. I was the head casting judge for season nine of “Project Runway,” so I was there at Parsons (design school) filming for that while they were filming the “All Stars” premiere. I saw them filming part of the runway portion of that episode, but I didn’t get to see who won. I got to meet the new judges.

I think “All Stars” is fantastic. I can’t wait to see if they have an all-winners one. That to me sounds good. I would definitely consider it. I think it would be a huge challenge having everyone competing as the reigning champion from their season. I think the level of design would be pretty incredible.

How do you think the “All Stars” host, mentor and judges (Angela Lindvall, Joanna Coles, Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman) compare to franchise regulars Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors?

The new host, Angela, was great. She’s another Heidi in terms of she’s worn every label, she’s done everything, so she’s Heidi comparable. The whole judging panel is credible. In terms of Isaac, he’s a reputable name in the industry just like Kors. He’s been around forever. I think he’s going to deliver an honest opinion, and it’s definitely one that should be considered and is valid. Georgina is definitely experienced, as well. I’ve met Georgina. She’s married to film producer Harvey Weinstein, she co-founded (fashion label) Marchesa, which does very well, so she’s a major player. Whether it’s this judging crew or the other, you’ve got to absorb what they have to say. They’re there to help you, not tear you down. I like Joanna. Again, I know her, I’ve met her on several different occasions and interacted with her for a challenge when I was on “Project Runway.” The woman knows what she’s talking about. I mean, she’s Nina’s boss. She’s editor in chief of all of Marie Claire magazine.

In the premiere, the 13 designers were tasked with recreating a favorite look of theirs from materials found at a 99-cent store. Based on their performance and what you know about them as designers, who’s the one to beat?

Two of my favorites are Mondo Guerra and Rami Kashou. The other designs looked like a 99-cent-store challenge. Mondo’s and Rami’s looked like high-end designs. I met Rami once. He was so nice. His taste level and design level are impeccable. Mondo is like one of my best friends. We’ve traveled to colleges and spoke, we went to the Oscars together. Michael Costello is another guy I talk with. I met Austin Scarlett for this first time, and he was great. I really admire his work. I also talk to Anthony Williams. He’s fantastic. Many of the contestants from other seasons I’ve gotten to know because we go to a lot of the same events.

Which of your “Project Runway” cast mates do you keep in closest touch with?

Jay Sario I talk to like every week.

What have been some highlights for you since winning “Project Runway,” and what’s coming down the pipeline?

I showed at Portland Fashion Week in 2010 and 2011 and in Vancouver, B.C., in December. I went to the Oscars last year, which was fun. I just finished filming some fashion commentary segments for E! network. I’ve been traveling for speaking engagements at colleges and various Macy’s stores around the country. I have a manufacturer and distributor on the East Coast. I’m meeting with major retailers and expect my line, SETHAARON, to be on shelves nationwide in fall 2012 and internationally in spring 2013.