Recently Examiner.com had the pleasure of speaking with Designer and Project Runway star Benjamin Mach. Benjamin shares with us his experiences on Project Runway, upcoming projects, and more.
Q: What prompted you to try out for Project Runway?
A:I was really interested in having the experience of what Project Runway offers - it is an extraordinary platform for designers in the American market and I wanted to "introduce" myself to somewhere new. I have worked in Australia, UK and Europe, Project Runway was a unique chance to get a foot in the door in the USA.
Q: At what point did you realize you wanted to become a designer?
A: My creativity has always been nurtured and I naturally gravitated towards clothes from a very young age - it wasn't until a friend suggested in my early 20s when I was unsure which direction I wanted to take (I started a degree path in Journalism) that I try fashion because I was ALWAYS making clothes. This moment triggered in my mind that I could make a career out of what I love so much! Fashion!
Q: Who are some of your favorite designers?
A: I admire certain pieces from contemporary designers, but for true inspiration I look back to the heyday of couture: Madeleine Vionnet, Cristobal Balenciaga, Madam Gres.. and also I like to reference modern 20th century talents: Halston, Valentino. These are just a few of the greats in my designer eyes.
Q: What is it like being under the scrutiny of the judges, and also having to work with different personalities on Project Runway?
A: I am no stranger to having my work scrutinized as I have worked on collections for my own line and other brands shown on the runways of Paris, Madrid, Sydney, London, but in those times there has been a full season to produce a full runway collection - you have the time to really edit, tweak and polish your final presentation, so there should be no excuse for it not to be near perfect! On Project Runway we have less than a full day to conceive the idea, design, source, construct, fit and style and this is really challenging! Especially for the type of work I usually do. So it can really fall apart and once on the Runway to then get through the critique of a piece that has been produced in such unique circumstances - it can be hard. When the judges love it though you feel a great sense of appreciation and pride that they can see who you are as a designer.
Q: Your biggest fashion do's and don'ts at the moment?
A: Know what suits your personality, your body shape and your colouring and work with that.. not all fashion is made for all people but there IS always something out there to suit you. Don't jump on to trends thinking they will make you "fashionably cool", adapt them into who you are and you will always look good because fashion is an expression of who you are, if you're dripping head to toe in trends you'll be lost!!!
Q: What is your utmost favorite piece that you've created?
A: I created a dress for Joely Richardson when I worked for a luxury menswear brand in London a few years ago - we were dressing our male clients for a Summer fundraising ball and because of my background in womenswear I was given the brilliant task of creating a one-off womenswear piece guided by the aesthetics of the brand - she was beautiful in my dress!
Q: Which celebrity do you see or would love to see wearing your designs?
A: I would really love to work with Marion Cotillard as she is so chic, and Jennifer Lawrence because she is just such a cool girl who can still carry off red carpet sophistication combined with her endearingly real personality.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I am establishing my own line of womens wear, a collection of some evening with a heavy dose of ready-to-wear called NARCISSUS. The biggest challenge designers face these days is that start-up period - a fashion business can cost a lot to get started. I have a strong creative side combined with a strong business head and I am always looking for other strong business minded people to come on board and join me on this journey...
Q: Describe your personal style in three words?
A: chic, modern, vintage (I like the juxtaposition of those last two)
Q: What are your future plans in fashion?
A: I am planning to work with a great US brand to see what I might be able to further learn about the industry here in America. I really thrive on being a part of a team and a much bigger picture and there is always more to learn about this business everyday. My long term focus is to start my own line and show perhaps at NY Fashion Week or London or Paris.
Project Runway airs Thursdays on Lifetime TV