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My Pick for Project Runway Season 13 - Sean Kelly

Updated on September 23, 2014

18 Designers Have Been Chosen - One will survive - Sean Kelly

The highly anticipated Season 13 of Project Runway premiered last night, July 24th, on Lifetime. The season started with 18 designers and one returning designer (Amanda Valentine). I have watched all the previous seasons, and each season one of the contestants becomes my favorite. They normally win the place in my heart through numerous competitions and witty commentary. None of them have captured my attention as quickly as native New Zealander, Sean Kelly.

In the pre-season episode Road to the Runway, Sean brought forth a rack of androgynous Men's wear that was unique and eyecatching. Tim Gunn commented that his work was 'Fresh and Different', and Kelly responded 'That's because it's from New Zealand!'. Still, Tim Gunn was adamant that even with that factor, Kelly's work stood out. With that he took his place as one of the designers of Project Runway Season 13.

Sean Kelly's Past Work

Part of Sean Kelly's Original collection
Part of Sean Kelly's Original collection | Source

Tell me more! Sean Kelly Bio

Sean Kelly is 25 and lives in Brooklyn, New York, but he hasn't been there very long. In fact, at the time of auditions, he had been in New York for two months. Earlier this year he moved to New York with nothing but a suitcase and a dream after graduating from the College of Creative Arts at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. The fashion Staff at CoCA At Massey University have nothing but good things to say about Kelly, describing him as an "amazing student very dedicated and so talented." He comments in the first episode that he has moved halfway across the world for this opportunity, and that's not an exaggeration, there is a 16 hour time difference between New Zealand and New York. During his stint at the university he specialized with Alexander McQueen in menswear, even though his schooling had been exclusively women's wear.

Sean Kelly's Past Work

Part of Sean Kelly's Original collection
Part of Sean Kelly's Original collection | Source

He might be right out of University - but look at the talent!

In the pre-season episode road to the runway we get a look at the process that Kelly had to go to during the audition process. The first introduction we get is as he rolls his clothing rack into the audition room where Tim Gunn and Runway alum Dmitry Sholokhov are ready to view his collection. Kelly 'intrigues' Tim Gunn with a mens coat that has an inverted lapel and impresses him with a black and white garment hand cut and stitched together using overlapping seams. His collection while geared to mens wear can be easily adapted to women's wear. Tim Gunn looks to be a fan, and so am I.

In terms of competition, Sean counts Alexander Knox as someone who he feels would be strong competition based on first impressions. On the same hand Alexander feels Sean is going to be his strongest competition. Jefferson Musanda, Emily Payne, and Kristine Guico are all in agreement. Looks like I am not the only one who thinks Sean Kelly has a strong chance of making it to Fashion Week in New York City.

Sean Kelly's Road to the Runway

Sean display's part of his collection at the casting auditions during the Season 13 Road to the Runway episode.
Sean display's part of his collection at the casting auditions during the Season 13 Road to the Runway episode. | Source

The First Challenge

As the first official episode of Season 13 starts, the contestants find out that they will have to audition one last time with a different panel of judges. All of the contestants have been put into the competition through audition panels that included Tim Gunn or other Runway alumni. Now they must meet the approval of Heidi Klum, Zac Posen and the dreaded Nina Garcia.

Sean's discussion with the trio was short and definitive. Heidi said she was impressed and Nina said he had a 'sophisticated eye'. Not everyone was so lucky. Tim Navarro was the first to be eliminated, followed by Nzinga Knight and Emannuel Tobias.

The first challenge is announced in which the contestants have one day to create a spring look out of fabrics that are enclosed in a trunk. There are three yards of five different fabrics in each trunk, and while some designers will have the same fabric, not all of them have the exact same set. They are encouraged to 'beg, borrow, and steal' from the other contestants in order to complete their look.

Tim Gunn checks in with the designers, and we don't seem a dialog with Sean, then during the model fitting we don't get a peek into his progress or how he is working with his model. Its unfortunate that we don't Sean in any of the work room footage, but there is one instance in the work room that we can see his model wearing his look in the background - though we don't have any idea that it's his at the time. Instead, we don't see him until the 10 minute call, and even then its to comment on the last minute hustle from Angela Sum.

Season 13 Episode 1 Runway Look

Sean Kelly's Episode 1 Runway Look
Sean Kelly's Episode 1 Runway Look | Source

The First Runway Show

The contestants display their work on the runway, and Sean's dress is well made, sculpted, and flatters the models body. The back is amazing, showing off the model's back in a v shape that runs the length of her back. It wasn't my favorite look on the runway, but it was a strong showing. Seems like the judges thought so too - Sean was neither in the top or the bottom, instead he floats into the safe zone and heads back to the waiting room.

In the end, Sandhya Garg was claimed as the winner of the nights show, and Jefferson Musanda heads home. My favorite Sean Kelly didn't create any drama in the workroom or the runway - which is probably the perfect place to be on the first runway show. I can't wait to see what next week brings.

Will Sean Kelly Make It To The End?

What do you think? Will Sean Kelly make it to Fashion Week?

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting analysis.

    • KnowWhatImean profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Of Course! You are clearly on your way to greatness! Loved this week's look too. You've got this!

    • profile image

      Sean Kelly 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the great write up and support!

    • KnowWhatImean profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you very much! I think this guy is way talented. I normally watch shows like this while I am doing something else as 'background noise' but this designer caught my attention and kept it.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love project runway! It used be one of my favorite shows but I've lost track. The outfits are wild a for men. You did a great job on your first Hub! Way to go! Voted up and tweeted out!


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