Meet Sean Kelly

NZ Born Fashion Designer and Reality TV star Sean Kelly has won fans all around the world after appearing in the 13th season of America’s hit reality show Project Runway. Taking out the title and winning the show in 2014 was a great platform for him to start his designs and show it to the world. We caught up with the star while he is in town and got some inside detail on what we may see from his show and collection this month showing at NZFW.

1. How do you describe your creative style and how is it different from yourself?

My creative process is very wide when bringing a collection together; I am inspired by textures, art, structures from everyday life and travel. My process is very experimental with these objects to see how they would work into clothing. My person style is much more tame, I have a uniform mostly consisting of denim and t-shirts. I don’t project my ideas into my style.

2. You have dressed many celebrities including Heidi Klum, who was a co-judge on the show. What was it like to see her wear your own design to the Emmy Awards last year?

Working with Heidi was such an amazing experience, because we don’t have that much time to get to know the judges on the show it was nice to meet outside the pretence of the show.

3. You recently took off to Europe for four months in search of creative inspiration. What will we be expecting to see at your first standalone collection showing at New Zealand Fashion Week this month?

I spent a lot of time in Paris, which is one of my favourite cities in Europe. I’m trying to understand what it is that is so attractive to me about Paris. Getting lost in different parts of the city as well and seeing a lot of art galleries are some of these experiences that have been extracted into this collection.

4. How does the international market compare to New Zealand when it comes to fashion? 

New Zealand is a much smaller market with but still craves the same results from international markets in the way of experiencing the “new” and searching for creativity.

5. What was it like working on such a successful and international TV series? Do you still keep in touch with the other contestants and judges?

Working on a major network production for me was a huge learning curve. I have always been obsessed with certain reality TV shows such as Runway and Survivor, so to see the workings of what goes on behind the scenes and just how big of a production it takes to run a show was a really great experience. I am still in touch with some of the contestants especially the New York-based ones, and Tim Gunn has been in constant contact since the show ended, he is such an amazing person, full of knowledge and advice.

6. Auckland or New York? What are your plans for the future?

New York. However, I am enjoying my time here in Auckland. I am basing myself and the company in New York for the future.

Being the first ever kiwi to compete on Project Runway, Sean beat 16 other contestants, taking home a $125,000 prize package including a car and a fashion spread in Marie Claire. We look forward to seeing his show this month at NZFW.

For further contact and enquiries, contact Sean directly: info@seankellystudios.com

Alarice Stuart