Shooting on Project Runway New Zealand has again shown what a small world our fashion industry is.
As Spy reported last weekend, of the 14 contestants on the reality TV show, two were from Karen Walker’s stable and got a surprise when they saw each other.
Now we can reveal Beau Takapu, 37, from WORLD, made the show, not realising his boss Benny Castles was one of the judges. He says he kept it together on the first day of shooting.
“I found it quite amusing, if anything, knowing Benny would be judging my work! As a senior sales associate in one of WORLD’s branches, he hasn’t seen any of my work, or my ability. It was a refreshing experience being able to showcase my talent and designs to him, and the whole country, in such a unique platform.” says Takapu.
The 14 contestants for Project Runway New Zealand are a diverse bunch from very different backgrounds and style aesthetics, but have one thing in common: their love of fashion.
Takapu is from San Francisco and moved to New Zealand to be closer to his Pacific culture and to inspire his work; 40-year-old Misty Ramita is the oldest contestant and is a Māori lecturer from Napier; Lenon Wakuwa, 27, from Invercargill is gender-fluid and struggled at the clothing choices available — so decided to make designs that could be worn by anyone.
Ramita went on the show knowing what a great opportunity Project Runway would be for a national audience to see her design skills. She showed two collections at New Zealand Fashion Week and has some famous fans.
“Anika Moa bought my jumpsuit because she saw her mate Maurz Taane wearing it on her Instagram page — Maurz is Tiki Taane’s sister. Anika sent me a message and said she wore it on her Anika Moa Unleashed programme while interviewing Stan Walker,” Ramita tells Spy.
Fellow contestant Matt Costello, 26, a nursery worker from Nelson, knows how to network with famous faces too.
“Kimberley Crossman liked a picture on my company Instagram page (Stelloco), so I reached out to her and asked her to read my bio on the website to see if she liked what the company was all about and wanted to support my movement — which she and her boyfriend did,” he says.
Filling out the mix are Aucklanders, 22-year-old handbag designer Camille Richard, designer Benjamin Alexander and retail assistant Jess Hunter, both 23, and 24-year-old fashion designer Judy Gao.
Alexander has dressed various celebs for events including Rachel White and Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
Spy understands a sewing room full of creatives creates plenty of drama, but the judges’ interest will be solely with their creations and ability.