There isn’t much time for 14-year-old Allie Lunt to slow down.
Allie, a ninth-grader from Dayton, Ohio, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is planning to show five pieces from her collection at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 10, and will be showing the 10-piece collection at Utah Fashion Week on Feb. 17.
Her collection is “ready to wear with a hint of evening,” she said in a telephone interview with the Deseret News.
Meeting Tim Gunn for the first time, the designers’ mentor and the show’s co-host, going to the fabric store Mood and making friends with the other designers are highlights for Allie while she was on the show.
“He’s every bit as amazing as you would think,” Allie said of Gunn. “He’s so incredible.” The first time she saw him, she said she got really emotional.
“Project Runway: Junior” is a fashion competition for 12 designers, ages 13 to 17, who are given weekly challenges, a budget for fabric and a time limit to create their designs.
“Everyone is so talented, and it’s such an amazing experience,” Allie said.
There is a runway show each episode, and the quartet of judges rate the designs. They then critique the top three and bottom three designers, take a closer look at the clothes and then name a winner and who will be out.
Judges for the show are Kelly Osbourne, author and fashion designer; Christian Siriano, who won the fourth season of “Project Runway”; Aya Kanai, executive fashion director at Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines; and model and co-host Hannah Jeter.
The challenges ranged from working unconventional materials found around a pool to an avant-garde look inspired by fencing to LED lights.
Allie’s favorite challenge was to make a look that could go from day to night and incorporated a Fitbit necklace or bracelet.
She was one of the top three designers for that challenge.
“I was in the top, which was amazing,” she said. “I definitely loved my look.”
She knew she would be on an intense schedule for the competition, and she knew she would be making friends with the other designers.
She didn’t count on staying close with 17-year-old Molly O’Brien and 14-year-old Ruby McAloon, who she is showing her collection with at New York Fashion Week.
Behind the scenes, Allie said she burned her hand in the second challenge, when they were working with items found around a pool for the unconventional materials challenge. Gunn, who checks in with the designers while they are creating their looks, stopped the critique so a medic could come in, she said.
Also, during her last challenge, which was to create at date night look for the wife or girlfriend of a firefighter, she said that she was sick.
“It’s such a stressful time,” Allie said of the competition and wanting to win. “We all want (to win) this.”
Her religion came up a few times, off-camera. Once was when someone brought up Mormons and another designer shared how they used to be LDS. It was also a topic one of their show employees, who was Jewish, brought up, as they are instructed to only talk about their designs or the competition while the cameras were rolling.
“It was cool to talk about different things with her,” Allie said.
Another was later when another competitor shared about his Catholic faith with her.
There are seven remaining designers, and Allie doesn’t have a favorite to win.
“I don’t think I could be a judge,” she said, adding that it would be hard for her to decide and she would want everyone to win.
Also, after each designer is eliminated from the show and saying good-bye to the other designers, Gunn will come in to send the eliminated designer to clean up their space.
"Tim Gunn is the most sincere man I have ever met, and so his farewell to me on the show meant the world to me,” Allie wrote in an email. “He said that I was an ‘extremely talented designer’ and that I had beautiful qualities of character. Hearing that from my hero was the greatest gift I could ever hope for."
For others who are looking at being on the show, she offered some advice.
“Work hard and be yourself,” she said. “Impress them by being yourself.”1 comment on this story
Her mom, Sarah Lunt, watched the filming with the other teen designers’ parents. Lunt, who owns a woman’s boutique, said that with the first challenge she didn’t watch too closely, but when Ruby, the designer they thought would win was eliminated, they started paying more attention.
“We were all glued to the screen,” Lunt said. “We couldn’t stop watching after that.”
There are seven remaining designers, and the winner receives several prizes, including a scholarship to FIDM and a Brother sewing machine.
"Project Runway: Junior" airs Thursday evenings on Lifetime.
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