Project Runway New Zealand winner Benjamin Alexander (centre) with mentor Andreas Mikellis (left) and host Georgia Fowler (right). Image by Tom Hollow.
Benjamin Alexander was announced the winner of the debut season of Project Runway New Zealand tonight with the talented designer beating Jessica Hunter and Kerry Ranginui to take out the title. Benjamin had an outstanding run throughout the show with his effortlessly chic designs repeatedly seeing him either win or be in the top few designers each week. His final collection of five beautiful looks sealed the deal with the judges commenting on the intelligence and cohesiveness of his collection. Benjamin took home prizes of $50,000 cash, a six page feature in Fashion Quarterly magazine and a brand new Holden Astra.
We caught up with Benjamin to congratulate him and find out what the experience was like, how he found watching himself on television and what’s next for him.
Congratulations, what was it like to win Project Runway New Zealand and what does it mean to you?
Thank you. This is going to sound cliché, but indescribable. I can’t thank everyone involved enough for making the show what it is!
What was it like getting down to the final three and how did you handle the pressure of creating your collection?
It wasn’t so much as pressure, rather I wanted to do something so real and so authentic to who I am that I didn’t want to disappoint. I love building a story around a body of work and putting it into more theoretical context, rather than just making clothes for the sake of it. It was super exciting getting down to the final three and I was just so humbled that the judges gave me the opportunity to show them a collection that summarised what they had already seen on the show.
What has it been like watching yourself on television and have you been recognised in public at all?
I actually love the show which is odd because I really don’t like having my picture taken. I’ve been recognised yeah, but I think i’m quite oblivious to it. Sometimes I forget and wonder why people keep looking at me.
How would you describe your Project Runway New Zealand experience in five words?
It was perfect. I don’t need five words, just perfect.
What was your favourite outfit that you designed on the show and why?
My favourite outfit was the black suede tailored shorts suit. I just thought it was super chic and hot as fuck.
Which challenge did you find the hardest and why?
Probably the active wear challenge only because it’s something I haven’t really delved into.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could do the show again?
Honestly nothing. I really, really enjoyed filming and would totally do it again.
Which other designer/s did you bond with on the show?
We all know the answer to that one…Caitlin!
What was your relationship with your favourite model like and what drew you to her for the show?
Gracie was an angel. It was written in the stars that we would work together. We were randomly paired in the beginning and I guess it was just meant to be.
How did you handle runway days and what was the judging process like for you?
I loved runway days. I was always proud of what I’d done and always loved seeing Gracie on the runway. She was such a sport and seeing her so excited in the looks was amazing.
What was your favourite moment from the filming of the show?
Meeting both Gracie and Caitlin.
What is your advice for anyone who wants to be on Project Runway New Zealand in future?
Trust your gut. Work fucking hard and don’t care in the slightest what people think of you or your work. Just do whatever you feel is right for you.
What’s next for you?
I now work for the incredible Sally-Ann Mullin within the Fashion Dept. at Bauer Media and will launch Benjamin Alexander in the new year.
See every look from the runway this week below.
Images by Tom Hollow.