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From the first week to the last, Toronto fashion designer Sunny Fong seemed a step above the competition on reality television show “Project Runway Canada.” THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — From the first week to the last, Toronto fashion designer Sunny Fong seemed a step above the competition on reality television show “Project Runway Canada.”
Now that he’s won the competition – and $100,000 to start his own fashion line – he’s not taking a break. “It means I actually have to work,” Fong said Wednesday. “I still can’t believe it. It’s really unreal and strange at the same time. I’m still in shock.”
The show’s faithful viewers can’t really say the same.
Fong, 32, was the show’s frontrunner from the beginning and never faltered. He was routinely lauded for his intricate design and creativity, and won more challenges than the rest of his competitors combined.
“Sunny was impressive throughout the season,” said Shawn Hewson, one of the show’s judges and creative director of Bustle Clothing. “He does have great ideas, he obviously has amazing technical skills, and from what I understand, he’s pretty fast, which is also key.
“He’s a great designer.”
Still, Hewson said that Fong winning was far from a foregone conclusion. It came down to his final collection, showcased on Tuesday’s finale.
The collection was inspired by Alexander the Great, an idea Fong said came to him after he bought a copy of the 2004 Colin Farrell movie “Alexander” – “It was on sale,” he explains.
Supermodel host Iman was so impressed by the collection she expressed interest in buying a couple of pieces – “I haven’t talked to her yet, I’m crossing my fingers, I do want to dress her,” says Fong – and Hewson said it cemented Fong’s place as winner.
“He put together a really great collection,” Hewson said. “Alexander the Great is a tricky inspiration. You’re putting together leather, silk and beading and Macedonian hegemony all in one place and it actually worked out really well.”
Fong grew up in Toronto and got a degree in film from Ryerson University, but afterwards realized he would rather pursue a career in fashion.
In 2005, he launched his own line, Vawk, but after drawing some interest during showings at Toronto Fashion Week, he found himself strapped for cash and had to put the line on hold.
“I think that was probably the toughest time, because I didn’t want to let it go, but financially I couldn’t support it,” he recalled. “It wasn’t the drive, it wasn’t the inspiration, it was the business plan.
“Now it’s a different story.”
Another piece of closure came off-camera.
During an emotional moment in the penultimate episode, a tearful Fong said he hoped to hear his mother say she was proud of him if he won the competition.
Turns out he didn’t have to wait that long.
“We had lunch (before the last shows aired) and she mentioned to me that she was really proud of me,” he said. “That part was really cool. She’s really supportive, always has been supportive, but she just never really vocalized it.
“It was more shocking than anything else and I was actually quite happy.”
Fong, who also receives a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada, a L’Oreal Paris professional portfolio photo shoot and a business mentorship with Winners, says he’s considering taking a trip with a small portion of his winnings – somewhere exotic, he says.
As far as the other contestants, he says he keeps in touch with runner-up Jessica Biffi and Baylor Orlando. During the show, Fong was cordial with his competitors but seemed to keep them at a distance, which he says was intentional.
“I didn’t want to be involved, because I get emotionally attached to people really easily, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t in their bad books,” he said. “I pretty much made sure I was friends with everybody who was there, and wasn’t their enemy.
“I was kind of like: ‘I’ll make you dinner if you’re nice to me.”‘
And as for his future plans? He’s typically focused.
“Right now, I’m more in a niche market in terms of a luxury end, but I realize there’s sort of a larger fanbase as well,” he said. “There’s like 16-year-olds, and adults who are watching the show, and they have interest my stuff too. That’s sort of opened my eyes.
“To get my line out there across Canada is probably the plan right now. And then probably after that, take on the world.”
As Project Runway Canada season two champ, Sunny has won it all – a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada, a professional portfolio photo shoot courtesy of L’Oréal Paris, a ‘Runway to Retail’ business mentorship with Winners, and $100,000 to start his own fashion line.
Hometown: Toronto, ON
“I’m very serious when I need to be and I’m very crazy when I’m not serious. When people get to know me, that’s where they discover and understand that there’s this yin-yang to my personality.”
After four years in film school, Sunny Fong decided that the lengthy process of filmmaking just wasn’t his thing. Searching for some instant gratification, Sunny turned to the fast-paced world of fashion. Having taught himself to sew in high school, Sunny always designed on the side, making costumes for the films he created and outfits for his friends. In 2004 he launched VAWK, a high-end women’s wear line. After number of successful shows at Toronto Fashion Week, the line was put on hold due to lack of capitol needed to run the company. In the meantime, Sunny works as a graphic designer and continues to create fashion for a select clientele.
As the winner, Fong will receive a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada, a L’Oreal Paris Professional portfolio photo shoot, a business mentorship with Winners and $100,000 to start his own fashion line.
“My experience on Project Runway Canada has definitely been life changing,” said Fong in a release.
He was my favourite designer – so I am really happy for him. Congratulations Sunny!! If you ever need a Make-up Artist, call me! Yiippee!
Click Here for more information on Sunny Fong.
(Photo Credit: Globaltv.com)