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'Project Runway' winner to offer SolarWorld-inspired runway collection at Portland Fashion Week in October

Seth Aaron Henderson's work will highlight sustainable show to be staged Oct. 6-10

PORTLAND, Ore., July 23, 2010 – Seth Aaron Henderson, the latest winning designer in hit reality TV fashion show "Project Runway," has agreed to develop the "Seth Aaron SolarWorld Collection Presented by Portland Fashion Week" to be unveiled Oct. 9 in the sustainable fashion showcase in Portland.

In designing the collection, Mr. Henderson will draw on his passion for a domestically manufactured solar solution to pressing energy, environmental and economic challenges facing the country and his interest in exploring the technology's aesthetic possibilities.

The theme of the three-way partnership is "Solar Is the New Black." Portland Fashion Week (PFW) and SolarWorld, the show's renewable-energy sponsor, previously announced they would assemble the show’s fashion runway from the company's new, black solar panels. For inspiration, Mr. Henderson has extensively toured SolarWorld's manufacturing plant in nearby Hillsboro, Ore., the largest in the Americas, where about 1,000 people will work by Sept. 30.

"It's SolarWorld's commitment to being a leader in its industry by keeping innovation always in mind that interests me," says Mr. Henderson, who lives in the Portland area. "There was inspiration from the second I stepped foot in the SolarWorld factory. Innovation and sustainability were overwhelming impressions, and they give me limitless possibilities for a high-concept collection. They're doing a lot of good things in the world, and together with PFW, I love the statement we're making from right here in my back yard."

Organizers of PFW, the nation's leading independent forum spotlighting sustainable fashion-industry designs, practices and concepts, said the collaboration highlights a natural fit between two of the world’s largest industries: energy and fashion.

"SolarWorld's partnership sparked an idea for a high-fashion, conceptual collection based upon the technology, materials and ethos of solar power, inspired by SolarWorld's new black monocrystalline solar panels," PFW Co-executive Producer Chris Cone said. Fellow Executive Producer Prasenjit Tito Chowdhury said, "It’s a powerful and enticing way to call attention to green fashion and renewable energy, all within a showcase of what will be the world’s first carbon-neutral fashion week production."

Leaders of SolarWorld are equally enthusiastic.

"As a company that is exclusively focused on all phases of manufacturing high-performance solar power technology, we are fascinated to watch a talent of Seth Aaron's magnitude interpret the design elements of our technology in a fashion context," said Kevin Kilkelly, SolarWorld's president of U.S. sales. "It's a clear sign that interest in our technology, which we have been producing for 35 years, is reaching beyond its energy performance alone."

Images downloads

Download Seth Aaron Henderson peers into crystal growing chamber[JPG 8.8MB]
Fashion designer Seth Aaron Henderson peers July 9, 2010, into the crucible of a crystal growing furnace at SolarWorld's vertically integrated plant in Hillsboro, Ore., the largest in the Americas. In the furnace room, SolarWorld grows monocrystals, freezing and aligning a single atomic crystal structure from molten polysilicon to maximize energy-generation performance of resulting solar modules. Mr. Henderson explored the plant as part of his preparation to design a SolarWorld-inspired runway collection.

Download Seth Aaron Henderson tours wafering[JPG 5.7MB]
Seth Aaron Henderson, fresh from winning the seventh season of the hit TV show "Project Runway," takes a look July 9, 2010, at the wire saws in the wafering room of SolarWorld's Hillsboro, Ore., factory. The saws slice silicon mono-crystals into thin quasi-squares of silicon, known as wafers, which become the foundations of photovoltaic cells later in the manufacturing process. Mr. Henderson is designing a SolarWorld-inspired runway collection to encourage widespread adoption of the technology and to explore its aesthetic possibilities.

Download Seth Aaron Henderson views solar cell print line[JPG 10.6MB]
Clad in a hairnet, Seth Aaron Henderson watches nearly finished photovoltaic cells move down print lines in SolarWorld's manufacturing plant in Hillsboro, Ore., toward final completion. Using a silk-screen-like application of metal ink, the print lines provide the pin-striped circuitry and bus bars that collect electrons from the cells and move them into a circuit. Mr. Henderson, visiting the SolarWorld plant in Hillsboro, Ore., on July 9, 2010, was fascinated by the energy-generation power of the extremely thin, blue-purple cells. 

Download Seth Aaron Henderson holds solar PV cell to left eye[3.7MB]
Rising fashion designer Seth Aaron Henderson poses July 9, 2010, with a SolarWorld photovoltaic cell that was manufactured at the company's U.S. headquarters operation in Hillsboro, Ore. Mr. Henderson, riding heightened celebrity after winning the seventh season of hit TV show "Project Runway," has agreed to take inspiration from SolarWorld's technology in designing and presenting the "Seth Aaron SolarWorld Collection Presented by Portland Fashion Week." The collection will debut Oct. 9 as part of the sustainable fashion showcase from Oct. 6 through 10.


Photos by Fred Joe,

About Portland Fashion Week

On the runway since 2003, Portland Fashion Week is the second-longest running fashion week on the West Coast. In 2007, Portland Fashion Week became the first sustainable production of a fashion week in the world. It has been showcasing the collections of the upcoming season by the highest number of sustainable labels of any fashion week in the country, along with several independent and fair-trade high-fashion designers. Nationally and internationally known designers from North America, Europe and beyond present their exquisite collections in Portland Fashion Week. Portland Fashion Week is produced by PFW Productions LLC, a full-service events production and promotions company specializing in fashion. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation has provided BEF Water Restoration Certificates (TM) and Green-e Energy-certified BEF Renewable Energy Certificates generated from 100 percent clean, renewable energy for the energy and water used to produce Portland Fashion Week.

Prasenjit Tito Chowdhury

Prasenjit Tito Chowdhury 
Executive producer 
Portland Fashion Week. 
PFW Productions LLC. 
1255 N.W. Ninth Ave., No. 211 
Portland OR 97209 
Mobile: +1 503 756-1412 

SolarWorld Real Value

SolarWorld manufactures and sells solar power solutions and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. As the largest solar producer in the United States and Europe, SolarWorld employs about 3,200 people and carries out production in Hillsboro, Ore., and Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. From the raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and panels, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe and is committed to resource- and energy-efficient production. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld was founded in 1998 and has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Devon Cichoski
Media relations manager
SolarWorld Industries America
4650 Adohr Lane
Camarillo, CA 93012
Mobile: 805-377-2905
Office: 805-388-6388