Project Runway All Star Seth Aaron Henderson on why Menswear is his Next Move
When we think of fashion reality shows—from model face-offs to clothing design competitions—oftentimes, the attention falls on the woman. Project Runway All Stars is no exception. As top alum of Project Runway fame contend for a new chance at catapulting their careers, the designs they create and compete with are mostly geared toward the fairer sex. Though it was his womenswear that sealed Seth Aaron Henderson’s season three victory, he's eyeing menswear to take his brand to the next step.
“When I move my design studio to Los Angeles, ViktorLuna is actually moving to Los Angeles and he’s coming into my design studio with me,” Henderson shared after his big reality show coup. “Joshua Christensen is as well. I’m expanding my label to menswear, and why not bring two of the best menswear designers in?!”
While still perched in his Washington state domain, Henderson dished on what Project Runway All Stars competition is really like, why men savor the investment piece, and the A-listers he'd most like to dress.
Angel: Congrats on your Project Runway All Stars win! We first saw you on season seven of Project Runway, which you also won. Did that experience prepare you for this round?
Seth: You know the program. You know the schedule. It was different, meaning we had half the time to do stuff and they expected better, and the whole cast is phenomenal. Anyone can win. On the regular season, you show up, after the first challenge you can look at three-quarters of them and say “they don’t have it.” This [All Stars] cast… there’s not a weak link here.
A: And now you're teaming up with a few of your competitors for a menswear range. Why now?
S: I’ve always done menswear. I’ve done a lot of my own clothing, and when I first started out in my showroom, I did a lot of menswear and I sold it very well. Then, you [realize] you can’t do [womenswear and menswear] all at the same time. Last year, I did three menswear looks for my collection—seven women’s, three men’s. And I got a huge response from the menswear. And I thought “this is the direction that I definitely want to go.”
A: What's the main difference between designing for a woman and designing for a man?
S: Everything! One thing about men is we will buy it if we like it. A majority of men, will invest [in good quality pieces]. If they like it, they’ll buy it, and they like to buy and keep it. A lot of women’s retail is seasonal—they've got to have the newest color, they've got to have the newest trend. A guy buys a black suit, he wants to buy a black suit, he wants to wear that for the next five years. So, men, I feel, buy more investment pieces.
A: Is that the direction you're going with for your designs?
S: My menswear, I want to make it an investment piece, great suits that someone can buy and keep. I do my womenswear the same way—I make $2,000 suits for clients every season. If you go buy a Chanel suit, four years from now, that suit’s still going to be put together. It’s not a seasonal thing—it’s a timeless piece. And so, that’s the way I like to design my suits. I want this to stay together with the best fabrics, and 10 years down the road, [my client] may pull it out, and it’ll still look like it was just bought.
A: With awards season in full swing, what male star would you most want to dress?
S: Alan Cumming. He wears all this great stuff. I would love to have him wear one of my suits. In the music game, Macklemore. In red carpet, movies, Robert Downey, Jr. or Joaquin Phoenix. At the Oscars, LeonardoDiCaprio or Brad Pitt, or George Clooney—they’re going to wear your classic black or blue suit. That’s why I like Alan Cumming. If he’s going to the Oscars, he’s going to wear a plaid Burberry suit. He’s going to be out there. I really like that.
A: Glam has a Takeout Takeover series where we invade designers’ workspaces and bring them their favorite guilty pleasure. After your L.A. space is set up and we come to visit, what would you want us to bring?
S: Fried chicken. Popeye’s to be specific. That would be my takeout. In my studio, at any given time, I have beef jerky and V8—my steak and a salad!