Make It Work!

As she walked around the room it was obvious this wasn’t her first rodeo. With only 30 minutes to grab supplies and seven and a half hours to complete an entire outfit, it was amazing to watch not only her pieces of fabric turn into something I would buy on the rack, but her competitors’ designs as well.

Darlene Araiza, a senior apparel design and manufacturing major from Post, won Hi-Tech Fashion Group’s first ever Project Runway event. The competition was hosted last Saturday, and needless to say the challenge was ruthless. The competitors (three seniors and two junior apparel design and manufacturing majors) got to the College of Human Sciences around 8 a.m. to learn about their challenge and how much they would be allowed to spend on supplies at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Araiza starts preparing for the beginning stages of fitting garment to her model.

Araiza starts preparing for the beginning stages of fitting garment to her model.

“They had a budget of $40, and we gave them a coupon to spend on their items as well,” said Katelyn Ortiz, President of Hi-Tech. “A lot of the contestants were over their budget, so they had to either let certain things go or they had to find something cheaper.”

Araiza said originally she was out of the original budget that Hi-Tech gave, so she had to put back some of her supplies.

Nicole Ramsey, another contestant and senior apparel design and manufacturing major, said she was excited for the theme all of the designers had to focus on. She said they were asked to create an outfit for what their ideal model would wear on a first date.

Ortiz said she was excited because all of the contestants had different styles, so no one’s designs would look the same. Another thing she said she was excited for were the judges that proclaimed the winner at the end of the challenge. She said the judges consisted of Debbie Genraich, who owns a boutique called TART!, Kristen Miranda, The Exchange clothing store owner, and Carol Flueckiget, a professor of art at Tech.

The judges finalize on a winner for the challenge.

The judges finalize on a winner for the challenge.


In the end, Araiza’s design won the heart of the judges. From other contestants creating designs of cocktail dress, punk-pinup attire, Araiza’s final look was classic, yet edgy. She said her ideal girl went on a date at a music festival. Araiza said she thought of her girl as hip, bold and really into the now.

Araiza’s design was a bustier top and skirt (the pattern was a blue, green digital print) and then she added a shear white overlay with lace detail over her bustier top and skirt to complete the look. The judges said they liked the ying and yang of her design because it was different, but very fashionable at the same time. Araiza said she would have priced her design to be around $125 so it could cater to the younger market.

After the announcement that Araiza had won the Project Runway Challenge, her face looked speechless. She said she did not expect to win at all. She said the day started out rough with her not getting all of her supplies she needed, but in the end she said her design was essentially what she envisioned.

Araiza describes her design and what her ideal girl would go on a first date.

Araiza describes her design and what her ideal girl would go on a first date.

Ortiz said overall she was pleased with the success of Hi-Tech’s first Project Runway Challenge and hopes the tradition continues. She said originally she had hoped for 10 participants for the event, but said she was being ambitious and was happy with the five she did get to participate.

“I love how different everyone is that competed, all of their designs were really different. It was a close call.”

About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

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