By Nadine Kam
Make no mistake, Andy South was a star pupil in Honolulu Community College’s Fashion Technology program from his first year there.
Even at that early stage, I remember his teachers could not rave enough about his work ethic, prolific output, his willingness to help other students and pitch in whereever needed, and grace in
massaging egos of his fellow student designers.
Talk of his one day appearing on “Project Runway” started early and having survived the show, so far, on he received a hero’s homecoming celebration at the school on Oct. 11, which they dubbed Andy South Day.
He was welcomed by students, faculty and fans from the community and talked about his humble roots growing up in Waianae, and the dedication it took to get where he is today.
If there was any doubt about the kind of passion it takes to realize one’s dreams, he revealed that at one point he got rid of his bed to make room for a cutting table, thinking that it would double as a bed, no matter how uncomfortable. And, his first studio was in a tent in his back yard. The gist is, you can work anywhere, in any circumstance, if you are doing what you love.
Students don’t always get that. They wondered about the money, asking him how much they could expect to make as a designer and how much he’s made from the show, which to date is nothing.
He said the safe path is to work for someone else, but it’s not the route he wants to take. As a solo designer, he said he doesn’t expect to make money for another decade, and that is the plight of every designer —
trying to survive and make it work until breaking through.
But his energy and enthusiasm are unflagging and he says he’s hustling now to strike while he has a certain amount of celebrity. I certainly look forward to seeing his next projects and collections!
Andy signed autographs and greeted fans before cutting into his cake.