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Project Runway Season 7: Meet Ben Chmura

Oh my GOD, we're gonna LOVE this one!

Ben Chmura
Age: 30
Hometown: South Meriden, CT

And not because he's kinda cute (although that certainly always helps). Have a read, have a view, and then we'll tell you why we're feeling the BenLove.

Favorite designer(s)?
Nicolas Ghesquiรจre, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela, Hedi Slimane.
Can you describe past jobs you've had?

Freelanced for Express Men's, Club Monaco, Ralph Lauren, TSE cashmere and American Eagle.

What is a fashion must?

At least one really good vintage designer piece.

What is your design training?

BFA in Fashion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.

What's influenced your designs over the years?

Comic book illustration, sci-fi movies and, most of all, music!

What's your favorite material or fabric to work with?

Woven fabrics, especially silk noil and silk linens, and raw, natural fibers.

Do you prefer patterns or solids?

Both! I love mixing patterns, textures, colors. I love to color-block my designs as well.

What are your favorite colors?

I'm definitely a sucker for black, but I also love reds and coppers.

Favorite designer from past seasons of Project Runway?

I really liked Jay McCarroll.
Project Runway challenge you wish they'd bring back for your season?
The auto parts/interiors challenge! That was amazing!!!

Okay, so. Why are we feeling the love? Just this:


After the most dour, colorless season of PR the world has ever seen, to see a young designer willing to go that extra mile, willing to stick his neck out a little further (because to be honest, black is an incredibly safe and incredibly flattering choice) is so DAMN REFRESHING, wouldn't you say? So many new contestants say they loved Jay McCarroll and then show a portfolio full of neutrals. It's just so nice to see a designer say they loved Jay and then demonstrate that they understand what made Jay so great.

More info on Ben Chmura at

[Photos: Ryan Prado Photography/Veckio Photography via Ben's MySpace Page/ - Videos: - Q&A:]

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love the paisley looking dress on the pink background. Also LOVE those tights. Mmm...want!

If they do a men's challenge again, he'll produce something great, I bet. Or at least some great women's pants.

Yes Ben is talented and cute. I like his logo too.

I absolutely lovelovelove that red dress. He's very interesting!

I'm excited to see the influences, SciFi and comic books. You can't be truly influenced by those without some great pops of color. If he can translate those ideas without getting stuck in costume, he could do well by presenting a fresh point of view.
Of course, on Project Runway, that's a pretty big IF.

Finally some color. And brilliant designs. He's gonna be one to watch.

He was a SCAD graduate, as was a former contestant. That may be his doom, but I hope not. His clothes are fun and look like they would translate well to RTW, which is the goal. I just wanted to see MORE of the dresses in his audition video!

Here's hoping Ben goes far!

His style is reminiscent of Biddell's PRC final collection, which, IMHO was one of the most fantastic things I've seen on any Project Runway. That can't be all bad.

Clever logo. It's a Chmura chimaera.

"Tlo said: So many of new contestants say they loved Jay McCarroll and then show a portfolio full of neutrals. It's just so nice to see a designer say they loved Jay and then demonstrate that they understand what made Jay so great."

Thank you.

Definitely one to watch.


I love that his "pretty dresses" aren't just "pretty dresses", if you know what I mean. I also like his manner. He seems like he *won't* be a drama queen.

"What's influenced your designs over the years?
Comic book illustration, sci-fi movies and, most of all, music! "

CONSIDER ME SOLD. Though it seems sci-fi inspired styles don't often go over well with the judges.

I have him pegged as a front runner.. and i think he's gonna make nina garcia very happy.

creativity chick

Lots of interesting stuff. I love the ruffle-necked dress. And anyone from SCAD is a fav for me.

He seems alright, it looks like he tries too hard at times, which I prefer to not trying at all or being safe, but still. If he comes out of the box too aggressively, I suspect that he will get hammered for having taste issues.

Love the styling in the photos--especially the black paint "gloves". The necklines are interesting and architectural and oooh, I can't wait!


Can't wait to see how he does & on a personal note:
Go SCAD grad! Break the curse! (Please?)

He looks like the sexy, saucy offspring of Todd Oldham and Simon Doonan.

And the SciFi/Comic/Music influence means he'll be both nerdy and rock'n'roll. I'm crushing out on this guy already.


I'm in love too! His model choices are amazing as well - they look like muscular, real people.

I really am getting excited for the new season of PR.
It looks to be the season they brought color back.

On top of the hallelujah-use-of-color, he's so damn charming and hopefully he's got a good head on his shoulders. He thinks a lot about his pieces, but not in a Malvin (I'm too conceptual for America) kind of way.
Oh no, I think I have a crush...

robert george chmura pappadeas

I'm glad you all see how cute and talented Ben is, but remember he's married... to me! :)

he's like a combination of Jay and Kara Janx, loving it!

Do you people reallllly see cute/sexy in this guy? I covettt 99% of the clothes, but sexy is not what I see when I look at him. And also, a sleeveless shirt with gold shoes? Are we back in the 90's?

But, regardless. Gorg clothes.

I'm looking forward to more of him!! But I hope he doesn't send anything down the runway that looks like that black number with the striped tights. Love the tights; so sick of that damn baby-doll dress.

Love his style and source of inspiration. Nice too see lots of color too.

robert george chmura pappadeas said...

I'm glad you all see how cute and talented Ben is, but remember he's married... to me! :)

That's why God created threesomes : )

He also seems to have a good sense of color, i.e. his color choices are not nauseating or eye-searing. However, his silhouettes are nothing special and some are quite basic. Possible construction issues in some pieces.

I don't know. I don't really like his portfolio. It's kind of annoying.
He, however, is adorable. He also has the biggest nose this side of Adrien Brody (also adorable).
He comes off very real and unscripted so that'll make for a fun and interesting season.
I'm getting excited!!!!!!!

I like his approach to menswear. His womenswear is quite interesting and fashionable --- kind of futuristic baby doll dresses. My only problem is that some of the looks were a bit overworked and student-like. I like his use of color and can see Jay's influence and inspiration.

I'm excited for PR7!


i'm not dorothy gale

Beautiful eyes on that Ben, and a beautiful eye for design as well. The colors were dazzling, gorgeous. It's actually making me excited for the new season.....

Very nice. Beautiful colors and he seems to use prints well.

Oh why can't s7 be starting yet, I'm getting excited!

wonderful work! (esp the ruffle keyhole dress on the couch w/ a drink)

I'm looking forward to it!

i always love it when pr contestants give a nod to VINTAGE! yay!

Hmmm.... like some of the clothes, definitely not all. But LOVE the tea party!

Yes! Color, texture, prints! Definitely fun. He's a little quirky, but still seems grounded.

Beautiful dresses! Hope he doesn't go McCloudy on the colors and fun lke the previous season did. (Name-pun: 'Chmura' means 'cloud' in Polish. Just my weird humor, ignore if not fun.)


ToddNY, that's hilarious! Found myself thinking the same thing.

He can make a mean jacket, what else is required?

I like the two print dresses best which are next to each other in the 7th row down. (pink and green/yellow backdrops)

Kinda hate the 80's science-fictiony looks.

And in the why I'm not a stylist department: He's got a great sexy/intellectual face but not doing it any favors with the overgrown boy clothing, in my opinion.

Love the conceit of the tea party.

Love his designs, very "Planet Claire"!

Cute and talented : )

Now THAT's the way to be inspired by SciFi!!

I like his whole quirky nerdy tea party audition tape. Shows he has a sense of humor and it gets expressed in his color choices/garments. Looking forward to seeing more!

I think I've hit on why everybody is always so bitter and disappointed by Project Runway (and it's been occurring since the first season).

We see the contestants and their collections, say a collection like this one. A nice collection, but with definite drawbacks. We all rave about how great it is. Then the season starts, and Ben (or whoever it is) continues to produce the same type of clothing as is in the portfolio. Then everybody suddenly sees his flaws and limitations as a designer and jumps all over him, especially if he does well.

For instance, I see a lot of pretty dresses in this collection. I also see some designs that, if he produced them for a challenge, would have half or more of the commenters calling for his elimination.

That's the nature of the beast(s), I suppose.

I am intrigued with Ben...hopeful he'll be a contender.

He's got charm, quiet confidence and a creative edginess to him along with quality detailing and craftsmanship.

Already looking forward to him in the finals! ;)

Hmmmm seems interesting enough...although to my eye, the pieces in his portfolio seem all over the place...a la Santino. Love the use of color, though. You can certainly see the influence of the comics and of Jay McC. We'll see. We'll see.

While he seems adorable, I must be looking at a different portfolio then everyone else, because to me the clothes look costume-y at best.

TampaBay has to root for the TampaBoY!!!!

Hmm, Polska unite!
Ptak = bird
Chmura = cloud
dzien dobry!

I likee! Doesn't Michael Kors' petal skirt look awfully like Ben's skirt in pic #1? Or is it just me?

Yay! Clothing I am actually excited to see. Good luck, Ben!

I love these clothes...which reminds me why I wish PR gave the designers more time for each challenge. With the short time frames even good designers struggle. I think longer times would really separate the designers from the posers. Just my opinion..............

The clothes are AWESOME.

Tampa is so proud to have Ben represent us on Runway this season. He is also a super-nice guy. Check out his interview with Creative Loafing (Tampa's alt-weekly). He gives some great info about his inspirations and you can totally see that in his work!

BALMAIN for women

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