Andreas Mikellis
Project Runway New Zealand

Andreas currently works at AUT University in Auckland as a Senior Lecturer in the Fashion Design department. His job is all about mentoring upcoming designers—so this role fits like a glove!

Although not initially keen to take on a role in front of the camera, Andreas completed some consultancy work prior to the series starting, then got the opportunity to meet the contestants and was astounded at their talent and personalities. From there, he agreed to come onboard.

Growing up in the UK, his childhood was wrapped in fabric—his father owned a textile factory in London, so it was no surprise when he started a career in fashion.

Why did you want to be the mentor on Project Runway?

I think it’s critical that we share our knowledge with our new designers.

How will your background in fashion help you offer advice to the designers?

The breadth of my professional experience hopefully means that I can offer invaluable advice. I have worked across many areas of the fashion industry, in Europe and Australasia in fashion editorial, styling, costume design, tailoring, womenswear, menswear and also as a lecturer and fashion academic.

What is the most important advice you gave to the designers?

It really was about reminding them that they should never play it safe. Creativity and risk-taking is crucial! Also, that they needed to be constantly analytical about their work. The tight timeframes for each challenge were extremely hard on them and they needed to make sure they allowed time to step back and objectively review what they were creating and go from there.

Did you do anything to prepare (to be the mentor) for Project Runway?

Trimmed my beard and cleaned my glasses.

How did you start in the fashion industry? What was your first job?

I studied fashion and textile design in the UK and my first full-time job was working as an Assistant Fashion Editor for IPC magazine in London.