Last year we posted the request from Lifetime looking for young creative clothing designers for a new format of the Project Runway competition series. This new format selected 12 designers from ages 13 to 17 to compete in weekly clothing design challenges. While there were no contests from our local area, Maya Rameriz, the inaugural season winner’s aunt does live here.
Our chapter has 2 programs for young sewers, our TAG (Teach A New Generation ) for ages 8 – 17 and Tiny TAG for ages 6 & 7. In these programs we teach basic skills of sewing through monthly lessons and projects guided by our adult volunteers. Maya started sewing in 3rd grade and because neither her mother or grandmother sewed, she learned from watching YouTube videos.
In my interview with Maya, I wanted to find out more about her experiences and to find out how we as a guild could nurture and educate young makers of clothing. Maya was the youngest contestant on the show. She is currently a freshman at Toledo School of the Arts.
Plano ASG: How did you find out about Project Runway Jr.? Maya: My Grandmother had watched the Threads sponsored version of Project Runway for young designers. She told me about the show and encouraged me to audition.
PlanoASG: What was the audition process like and what items did you take? Maya: The whole process of applying included submitting an application, submitting a YouTube video, and doing a Skype interview. After that I got a call back to do an audition in NYC. That is where I got to show a few pieces to past Project Runway stars. I brought a few of my favorite pieces I had made to the interview including a few dresses, a jacket, and a few separates.
PlanoASG: What kind of sewing background do you have? Self taught? school classes? You tube? outside instructors? Maya: Pretty much all of my knowledge about sewing has come from YouTube. Neither of my parents know how to sew, so I kinda taught myself! I now attend Toledo School for the Arts where I take a class there, but all of the basic where learned from YouTube.
PlanoASG: Did the staff teach you how to use the industrial machines before the show started? Maya: The staff did teach us how to use the industrial machines before we started because most of us had never used them.
PlanoASG: What is your favorite and least favorite material to work with? Maya: I love working with leather, chiffon, brocade, and fabrics that have a lux feeling. I don’t like to work with fabrics that have a lot of sheen or stretch just because they can be very difficult to sew.
PlanoASG: We are a non profit guild dedicated to teaching the art and skill of sewing – How can our organization be more helpful to young sewists and designers? Maya: I think the most important thing to teach new designers is about the basics of sewing and have them experiment with their own personal style. This is great way to allow students to find what they like to design.
PlanoASG: Project Runway Junior was filmed in New York in the summer of 2015, and the first episode was November 2015. It was the summer before your freshman year of high school. What was the actual length of time in New York? Maya: Including audition, filming, and finale, we were in NYC for six weeks.
PlanoASG: How has Project Runway Junior changed your life? Maya: Project Runway Junior has changed my life because it has opened up a world of possibilities, it has taught my about my personal style, it has allowed my to get my work critiqued by amazing individuals, and it has overall taught me a lot about the interview process.