Project Runway Winner to Show at NZ Fashion Week

Rising design star Sean Kelly went from Taranaki to being the toast of the New York fashion world  and will be bringing his talents back to his home country with an exclusive show at New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) 2015.


Kelly was the winner of the 13th season of the popular US designer reality contest Project Runway hosted by supermodel and new face of Bendon, Heidi Klum, a show he had been a fan of since the very first season.


The first Kiwi to ever compete on Project Runway, Sean beat 16 other contestants, taking home a $125,000 prize package including a car and a fashion spread in a prestigious magazine.


“We’re delighted to confirm Sean Kelly to show at NZFW 2015”, comments Dame Pieter Stewart. “Sean is a very exciting designer who has proved himself in a short space of time and in a highly competitive market. His NZFW show will no doubt be a big drawcard for the week.”


Kelly, who has returned to New Zealand just to take part in the countries biggest fashion event, will show on the Main Runway at NZFW and says he is looking forward to returning to the event where he once volunteered. 


“Being on Project Runway was an amazing experience and a career defining one. In this industry, nothing is handed to you so it’s about making the most of your opportunities and not giving up”, comments Kelly.  “Having volunteered at NZFW in 2001 it’s now incredibly exciting to be part of such an important event with my own show”.


Kelly’s collection will feature around 20 looks, which will all be available by private order with a smaller capsule collection for sale online. The designer aims to grow his database of private clients and their personal connection to the brand before launching a full retail collection. 


The former deputy head boy of Hawera High School left the small town at 17, bound for Denmark where he spent time as an exchange student. He returned to New Zealand, after interning at Alexander McQueen in London, to complete his Bachelor of Design at Massey University, majoring in fashion.


Completing his studies, Kelly moved to the world’s fashion capital – New York City –on a one-year visa and while looking for a full time job, heard the show was looking for contestants.


After a rigorous application process that involved four rounds of selections Kelly made the final cut and went on to impress the judges in a series of design challenges, which included dressing Heidi Klum for the Emmy Awards.


With NZFW fast approaching Kelly is now busy readying a new collection for the runway where he will show alongside New Zealand’s top designers in what will no doubt be a highlight of the week.



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