'Runway All Stars' star Seth Aaron Henderson shines

Vancouver designer feted for 2nd win on TV competition, support of local community

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Seth Aaron Henderson isn't severing his local ties — he made that clear by celebrating his victory on national television at Vancouver Pizza.

The Vancouver-based designer gathered with friends Thursday evening at the Uptown Village restaurant to watch the "Project Runway All Stars" reunion show, where the contestants recapped the season. Henderson is the first person in the history of the popular Lifetime TV network fashion series to win two shows, season 7 of "Project Runway" and the latest season of "Project Runway All Stars."

Employees at the restaurant described Henderson as a longtime customer and a family man. Among those celebrating with him Thursday were his wife, Tina, and his children's elementary school teachers. His son, a senior at Hudson's Bay High School, actually worked at Vancouver Pizza for about eight months until he was injured during football and had to quit.

Having Henderson's fans regularly come in to watch the show was not only good for business, it built community, said owner Karen McMillen. The Thursday viewings became a neighborhood event.

One of Henderson's friends slid him a paint sample; it was orchid, the same color he used in a challenge on "All Stars" where he had to dress Marge Simpson from the animated TV series "The Simpsons."

"I hated that challenge," he said as he signed the paint sample for his friend's stepmother.

City Councilor Anne McEnerny-Ogle presented Henderson with a key to Uptown Village, made with a black vintage key from Harry's Key Service and a handmade leather fob. (He already has a key to Vancouver.)

"What do you know about him?" McEnerny-Ogle asked the crowded restaurant.

His wife got him started by buying him a sewing machine. He's self-taught. And family comes first.

Henderson plans to hang the keys inside his design studio, which he'll open once he moves to Los Angeles this summer. "Remember where you roots are, right?" he said.

He grew up in San Diego but moved to Vancouver in 1999. His home and attached studio are four blocks away in the Arnada neighborhood. Though he's moving with his wife, son and daughter to L.A., he plans to keep his home in Vancouver, where he has family.

Celebrities ask Henderson for his designs, so having a base in L.A. is a smart business move. He makes pieces for celebrities including Alyssa Milano, who was the host of "Project Runway All Stars."

Part of the prize package was an introductory line with cable shopping network QVC. All six of Henderson's pieces completely sold out online in 21 minutes — the fastest sellout time in the network's history. His Black Label comes out in March, and another line for QVC is slated for August.

He'll continue with "Project Runway" by helping with casting, as he's done in past seasons.

Before the move, Henderson's son will graduate from Hudson's Bay, and plans to attend a film school in L.A. His daughter will transfer to a Los Angeles high school for her junior year.