Sunday, September 25, 2022

Local teen designer takes home top honors in first season of Project Runway Jr.

Toledo’s latest gem comes in the form of a reality star you can be proud of. Maya Ramirez, a 14-year old student at Toledo School for the Arts, recently became the first winner of Project Runway: Junior, a competitive television show for teenage fashion designers.

Reaching the top: New York Fashion Week
After a series of weekly design challenges, the show culminated in a two-part finale with the remaining four contestants creating six runway-ready designs for New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Maya recounts how intense this opportunity was, “It was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had, just because this is a place where so many amazing designers show. Huge names, huge brands that have been around forever, and to know I’m 14 and able to show here is a really big accomplishment… I’m really grateful for the experience.”

In spite of the immense stress of NYFW, Maya pulled through with ingenuity and fearlessness, likely inspired by the female warrior theme her designs portrayed. To create her aesthetic, she used a juxtaposition of elements like sheer fabrics, contrasting edges, a soft floral print, and ribbed pleather. Her collection was by far the most creative, prompting judge Kelly Osbourne to call Maya a genius during the final critique.

Versace, Karan, McQueen… Ramirez
Armed with a bevy of prizes from the show— a full scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California, a home workspace furnished by Brother, a feature in Seventeen Magazine, and $25,000 cash— Maya will continue pioneering her career while juggling the life of a high school student. She speaks excitedly about creating her brand: “I definitely want to start my own line… probably an online store at first to figure out the business aspect of everything and then hopefully expand from there. I want to make new lines and collections and hopefully present at more Fashion Weeks down the road.”

To check out Maya’s designs and follow her journey, visit her Instagram page, maya_r_ramirez.

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