Originally posted at Vita.mn.
In anticipation of Saturday's Sol Inspirations eco-fashion show capping off MNfashion Week, we chatted with show headliner and Project Runway season seven winner Seth Aaron Henderson via phone. He'll be showing his SolarWorld collection, inspired by the solar panel manufacturer, in a runway show that will also include eco-friendly designs by fellow Project Runway alumni Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub. (We reported that initial news for an earlier story.)
You first showed this collection during Portland Fashion Week in a sponsored show with SolarWorld. How did that partnership come about?
That was kind of weird. that was through Chris Cone. He’s my line manager and PR person. He approached them because they were a sponsor of Portland Fashion Week. They got together and discussed it and he approached me with a proposal of them being a backer of a show so it was completely just a conceptual runway show for them and them only. Meaning I didn’t sell any of the pieces or mean for them to be sold.
Has being eco-friendly occurred to you before?
Definitely it’s been out there and occurred to me, but some of the materials used were more of a message because SolarWorld’s never been mixed in with the fashion industry and vice versa. So this was a joint effort to send a message to two different worlds and bring them together
Do you feel like despite the unusual materials the collection is still wearable?
Well, it’s more of a theatrical collection. There are a few pieces that could be worn but not too many people are going to wear a vinyl dress, you know what I mean? But there’s a silk one in there, and a couple others that someone might wear.
So there’s fabrics mixed in with the solar panels?
It's my take on SolarWorld - the colors, the shapes. Most of the materials are reflective and look hard, and they remind me of the factory and the solar cells. I try to mix in very graphic or textured fabrics.
How do you keep your aesthetic intact when designing with such specific materials?
It was really different because I was basing designs on the factory itself. It’s not necessarily my aesthetic. So to take certain elements out of that factory and onto the runway was I guess my job. But it was something I had a lot of fun with. There were a lot of graphic elements in it and there was a lot of structure, which I related to and was able to bring in.
How did you get involved with Sol Inspirations?
They emailed me this proposal and I talked to my agent and set it up.
Was the Project Runway connection a coincidence?
They explained that in the initial email, but it was definitely a coincidence. It was just one of those events that was really cool and served a good purpose.
Have you met (season six contestants) Christopher Straub or Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman before? Do you get to know people from other seasons of Project Runway?
Well I know Christopher, I've met him before. We all get together at one point or another. When you meet them it’s like you’ve known them for years. That's how it works, it’s really strange. Sort of like an extended family.
Sol Inspirations takes place Saturday at the Depot at 225 3rd Avenue South in Minneapolis. Doors: 7 p.m. VIP Reception and Designer Meet & Greet: 6 p.m. Tickets: $15 student, $35 general admission, $75 VIP. For more information, visit www.sol-inspirations.org.