And the season one winner is…

Project Runway SA fans, we have a winner for season one! But first, here’s how we got there…

The day before the biggest runway of their lives, the top 3 designers were surprised with the appearance of their very own personal assistants, who would help them complete their collections. Sandile was assigned to Kentse, Siphosihle to Jaime and Stephen to Kireshen. The happy pairings dove straight into work, with less than 20 hours to go before the runway finale. Stakes were high!

The Project Runway SA winner was about to win a pop-up store at Paris Fashion Week, courtesy of Ndalo Pictures, Elle South Africa and 4th Street Wines, a mentorship and prizes worth over R400 000 from Edgars, a Lexus CT 200h luxury compact hybrid worth R530 000, a trip to New York Fashion Week with Tresemmé to learn about hair in the fashion industry and R20 000 from Tresemmé towards their first showcase at a South African Fashion Week, Kelso Beauty products worth R30 000, a R10 000 shopping voucher from Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, where the winner’s first official showcase will be hosted, a Bernina sewing machine and overlocker and a two-night stay at Bakubung Bush Lodge.

But getting their 12-piece collections runway perfect was not all they had to worry about… 12 pieces meant 12 models, 12 fittings, 12 hair and makeup decisions and running order and choreography to plot out. With an hour to go to runway, the top 3 were still frantically putting the final touches to their outfits while their family and friends, all the show’s sponsors and all the designers from season one started to file in and be seated along the runway. And, of course, host Lerato Kganyago, resident judges Noni Gasa and Rahim Rawjee, guest judge CEO and founder of Ndalo Pictures Khanyi Dhlomo and Elle editor-in-chief Kelly Fung were all in the front row. It was a full house.

Mentor Gert-Johan Coetzee was backstage with the nervous designers. And out the collections came: Jaime’s finely tailored contouring and vibrant pops of colour inspired by Lexus and Maboneng, Kentse’s triple-themed, versatile collection of pinks, greys, reds and white with hand-stitched detailing and Kireshen’s dusty blue and gold, Nelson Mandela sculpture-inspired collection. The designs looked incredible and the judges’ deliberation was not easy.

Rahim said Jaime had both the technical skills and a point of view, but Noni wished he had been more experimental. Lerato was impressed with Kireshen’s growth over the season and was blown away by some of his pieces, but Khanyi was concerned about his workmanship. Khanyi loved Kentse’s show of versatility, but Rahim felt she had too many themes for a 12-piece collection.

Ultimately, they had to make a decision. And they did. Project Runway SA fans, the winner of South Africa’s first-ever season is Kentse Masilo!

Congratulations Kentse! We can’t wait to see you at Paris Fashion Week.

Project Runway SA is brought to you by Mzansi Magic and Ndalo Pictures, in association with 4th Street Wines. The production partner is Rapid Blue and sponsors include Edgars, Kelso Beauty, Tresemmé, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and Lexus.