Benny Castles
Project Runway New Zealand

At the age of 18, Benny started his career in fashion on the shop floor as a retail assistant at WORLD. Unsure of what he wanted to do at university, Benny decided to start working while he figured it out.

17 years on, Benny figured he was where he wanted to be—in fashion. He’s now a Designer and Director at the very same company (WORLD). His design work has been shown in fashion weeks across the globe including Paris and Sydney.

How will your background in fashion help you critique the designers’ garments?

Fashion is so much about experience, both in the design and in the relationship with clients. Having grown up at WORLD, I can offer a unique mix of experience, knowledge and know how in help cast a critical eye across the contestants’ work.

What will you bring to the judging panel?

Interesting eyewear… and hopefully an eye for the camp and flamboyant. I hope to add a sense of fun to the contestants’ experience and pass on some of the lessons I have learned at WORLD.

How do you think you and the other judges complement each other?

Sally-Ann and I both have a strong connection through fried chicken which developed into the largest off-screen topic. From that beginning, between Georgia, Sally-Ann and myself we each had specific view points and experiences of the industry as well as parameters of taste—but in the end we were able to listen to one another and find common ground.

What do you hope to see on the Runway from the designers?

Joy, individuality, confidence, excitement. A show like this is asking for the contestants to challenge and excite the viewer, including the judges, and that is the concept of a runway show.