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Isle designer off the runway

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    Isle fashion designer Andy South got a hug from one of his Honolulu Community College professors, Karen Hastings, while Joy Nagaue, chairwoman of the HCC Fashion Department, looked on last night at a "Project Runway" finale party at the Honolulu Design Center.

After three months of speculation since the announcement that two Hawaii designers had made it to "Project Runway," Lifetime viewers learned last night that Gretchen Jones beat finalists Mondo Guerra and isle designer Andy South to win the Season 8 title of "Next Top American Designer."

Hawaii fashion fans learned of South’s third-place fate during a "Project Runway Finale Event" at Honolulu Design Center where the designer from Waianae was surrounded by friends, family and well-wishers.

"I’m so happy for Gretchen," said a gracious South, who has been keeping in touch with the Portland, Ore.-based designer, as well as with others on the show. "I’ve gotten so close to the other contestants and feel like all of us were deserving, and all of us did our best.

"The prize could only go to one person, but we’ll all get there on our own terms," South said. "It doesn’t have to be through ‘Project Runway.’"

The finale event began with South posing for pictures with fans, followed by informal modeling and a presentation of his past and current projects.

Big Island-raised Ivy Higa left the show in Week 9 of the series, while South made it into the final three, besting fellow Honolulu Community College alumnus Jay Sario, who last season made it to the final four.

View photos from the event at and a recap of the finale at Nadine Kam’s Fashion Tribe blog. For more about Andy South and his post-"Runway" plans, see Sunday’s Today section.


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