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'Project Runway'-Inspired Fashion Contest Coming to Queens Library

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 21, 2012 9:37am

QUEENS — Make it work, teens!

A group of local teenagers will participate in a "Project Runway"-inspired fashion contest at the Pomonok branch of the Queens Public Library on Dec. 26, library officials said.

The competition is the brainchild of Frances Grossman, 26, who works at the Jewel Avenue branch. Over the summer, based on the success of a teen sewing program at the library, Grossman came up with the idea of recreating the popular reality show.

"For a long time I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate the show into the library program,” said Grossman, who admits to being a big fan.

Fifteen teams, filled with tweens and teens between 10 and 17 years old, have registered to participate in the contest. Each team has one designer and one model.

One of the participants, Elissa Sadofsky, 16, is raring to get started.

"I already have a bunch of ideas," said Sadofsky, a junior at Queens School of Inquiry.

Sadofsky said she got involved after a friend signed up to be a model. That's when the two girls decided to team up.

Sadofsky, a creative spirit, is mulling a career in fashion design, but her true dream is to become an art teacher.

"I like to draw and I like to paint," she said. "But if I draw characters, I like to design different clothing for them."

The first step Grossman took to get her plan off the ground was to call The Weinstein Company, which co-produces "Project Runway," to ask if she could use the program’s name.

The Weinstein Company not only embraced the idea, but it also donated prizes and supplies, Grossman said. They also introduced the librarian to other sponsors, including L'Oreal Paris and Mood Designer Fabrics, companies that provided additional prizes and gift bags.

After Grossman got the green light, the teenagers started brainstorming sessions. They will be given a supply of men's clothing and fabric, and their challenge will be to create the most creative and stylish outfit for women from that material.

The organizers said they wanted teens to use pre-cut fabrics so they could come up with fashion designs in a short amount of time without using sewing machines.

At the same time, professional cosmetologists from the neighborhood — assisted by some of the teens' mothers — will work on the models’ make-up and hair styles.

When the models hit the runway, they will be judged by a professional panel — though not the star-studded team from "Project Runway" that includes Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

This group of experts will consist of Michelle McGoldrick, a fashion designer from Brooklyn; Meredith Farrel, an art therapist at Elmhurst Hospital, who is also a fashion lover; and Madeline Roth, the manager at Sophie’s Creations, a local jewelry store.

The outfits will be judged primarily on creativity and the quality of the tailoring.

The winning team will receive two tickets to the "Project Runway" Season 11 finals, held in Manhattan during Fashion Week this spring. The runner-up team will go home with a "Project Runway" DVD game.

The contest will take place Dec. 26 at the Pomonok Branch of the Queens Public Library at 158-21 Jewel Ave. The event kicks off at 1:00 p.m. (judging starts at 5:30 p.m.).