Fashion designer Jay Nicolas Sario, the 31-year-old San Francisco “Project Runway” contestant, can finally let it all out after losing out the other week to his archrival, Mila Hermanovski, the 40-year-old Texan with a penchant for black and white.That episode was taped nearly two months ago, and Sario, contractually prohibited from speaking about it until it aired, came home and went back to work at Gap (where he is now the visual merchandiser for the flagship and 1,969 stores).Born in the Philippines and schooled in Hawaii before moving here, Sario is a self-taught designer. His consistent ability to craft innovative garments, mostly form-fitting, with tough, military touches earned him kudos from judges Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors.
He spent four months designing a complete collection to present at Bryant Park during Fashion Week, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to catapult him to the top 3. Designers Seth Aaron Henderson, Emilio Sosa and Hermanovski continued to the New York runway finale, which aired Thursday night. Henderson, a 37-year-old designer from Vancouver, Wash., was named the winner after presenting a sophisticated Russian military-inspired collection.Sario may have been momentarily shaken by his loss, but his ego, opinions and attitude are alive and well.I used the time as a way to heal internally. And then when the episode finally aired, I was able to feel sad along with everyone else. It was hard to get over it. I just kept watching the show with my friends at home, or at a bar in the Castro, and it felt good that they were rooting for me. My boyfriend didn’t know, though he suspected, my parents didn’t know – that was hard. … I was never angry, but it was tough for me to be eliminated after I’d worked on my collection so hard.
It takes a lot of balls to wear my designs. You have to have the right kind of confidence to wear my clothes; I’m the type of person who thinks, just wear it, and who cares what people say? I know that on the show I pushed myself hard and beyond what’s acceptable in Marie Claire. Marie Claire is for people who find things at Target and Wal-Mart, very straightforward. Nina was the tie-breaker between me and Mila. At the end of the day, given what she features in the magazine, I wasn’t right for that. Emilio and Seth Aaron are not innovative; Seth Aaron is very referential, very Alexander McQueen; Emilio’s clothing is ready to go on the racks at Macy’s. Mila, well … Lifetime is a women’s network, after all.