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"Project Runway" winner Seth Aaron Henderson makes San Diego proud

SAN DIEGO -- Welcome to San Diego, home to not only great weather and beautiful beaches but amazing talent.

In 2008, hip-hop dance crew JabbaWockeeZ won the first season of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”

In 2009, singer Adam Lambert was named the runner-up for the eighth season of Fox’s “American Idol.”

On Feb. 2 of this year, the San Diego City Council declared it “Meghan and Cheyne: Amazing Race Winners Day” in honor of the San Diego couple that won the CBS television show.

And on Thursday, fashion designer Seth Aaron Henderson was crowned the Season 7 winner of Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” making him San Diego’s latest homegrown success story.

After San Diego resident Jesus Estrada was booted for his bad taste early on, Henderson remained the only contestant with ties to San Diego. Although the 38-year-old designer currently resides in Vancouver, Wash., he grew up in America’s Finest City. And he made his hometown proud.

During the season finale, judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge Faith Hill praised Henderson’s work. He deserved to win. Just as in every other episode this season, Henderson’s edgy style stood out from the rest.

Every piece he makes says “Henderson.” In fact, if you’d watched only one episode of the competition series this season, you would still be able to pick his collection from the finale’s lineup.

Henderson’s collection, which was inspired by 1940s German and Soviet military uniforms, was a variation on his usual black-and-gray dresses and separates as well as a few bold red, yellow and purple outfits. He used stripes, polka dots, houndstooth and other patterns along with leather belts, gloves, leggings and hardware for accessories.

And the tattooed designer managed to step it up without swaying from his style. The judges said he had “matured” and called his collection “sophisticated.”

Henderson, who is married and the father of two children, proved that he has what it takes to make a statement in New York’s super competitive Fashion Week. After all, he went home with a variety of prizes, including $100,000 to launch his own line.

Even more, Henderson proved that a person can do anything if he or she believes strongly enough. His confidence has been undeniable all season long.

Several of his peers sometimes questioned his work. In fact, Mila Hermanovski, who came in third, said in Thursday’s episode that Henderson’s collection looked like “glamorous Hot Topic.”

But nothing or nobody could take away from what Henderson has accomplished.

“I’m showing my kids that hard work and love for what you do pays off,” Henderson tearfully said. “And I see it in their eyes. They’re proud of their father. I think that’s what this is all about for me.”

For Henderson’s many fans, it was also about a well-deserved victory. Bravo!

Kristina Blake is an SDNN intern. Contact her through valerie.scher@sdnn.com