Kerry Ranginui has known for six months that he is not the winner of the first Project Runway NZ series and he has had to keep it under his stylish hat.

Hometown supporters saw him lose out to Auckland contestant Benjamin Alexander when the final episode screened on Monday night but in real time he is well over his disappointment.

"It was great fun and I would do it all again if I had the chance. I made great friends and the show challenged me to try new things."

So was Alexander really as hostile towards Ranginui as he seemed to be on the screen?


"Yes, he was and right from the start he refused to give me the time of day.

"It was quite hard sharing an apartment with him but I had a feeling he would win because the judges praised his work from the beginning."

Ranginui says he came in for some harsh criticism from the judges both on and off camera.

"They always praised my finishing but didn't seem to like my ideas and they overlooked poor finishing in other contestants' work."

As a pattern maker with a decade of experience in the fashion industry, Ranginui seemed a dead-cert to win the series but his background possibly made the judges more critical of his work.

His collection for the final episode was inspired by the song Send in the Clowns and featured ruffle collared blouses with tailored suits that impressed the judges but not as much as Alexander's khaki collection or runner-up Jess Hunter's confectionery colours.

Three designs from Kerry Ranginui's final collection on Project Runway NZ. Photo / Supplied
Three designs from Kerry Ranginui's final collection on Project Runway NZ. Photo / Supplied

Guest judge, stylist Kylie Cooke told Ranginui that she could imagine one of his jackets hanging in her wardrobe 10 years from now.

He liked that and says he is happy that he is creating classic garments even if they didn't wow the judges.

The other guest judge was Taranaki boy Sean Kelly who won the US version of Project Runway in 2014.

Alexander's prize is a new car, $50,000 cash and a six-page spread in Fashion Quarterly magazine.

Ranginui watched the screening of the final episode with Project Runway friends including fellow contestants Lenon Wakauwa, Judy Gao and models from the series.

"I wore the chartreuse outfit from my collection to celebrate," he says.

He did have to substitute another pair of pants because the ones made for leggy model Christina Zingel were not suitable.