Made with Code: No 3D Glasses Needed

July 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm (Art Unravelled, Project Runway)

Tonight is the premiere of Season 13 of Project Runway, and  while I won’t be launching another “Project Runway Studio 109A” Challenge, I will be watching.

Last season, designer Justin LeBlanc became a fan favorite with his streamlined, architectural designs. As a finalist showing his work at New York’s Fashion Week, he wowed the judges with his accessories, many of which were printed at the North Carolina State School of Design using a 3D printer.

Project Runway fan favorite, Justin LeBlanc at our school's Reflections Celebration.

Project Runway fan favorite, Justin LeBlanc at our school’s Reflections Celebration.

While 3D printers have been used in the manufacturing industry, the technology is crossing over into other industries, including fashion. Although the technology is expensive, some companies are working to make this technology accessible to all of us. Home Depot just signed an agreement with MakerBot to sell its line of replicator machines. Shapeways is making it easier than ever for users, including jewelry designers, to customize and print their designs affordably.

As computer technology continues to cross over into every field, the need for Computer Scientists will only increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for new and better technology grows, demand for computer scientists will grow as well.” [http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm#tab-6]

Both my children attend STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) magnet schools, so I have seen first hand how educators are working hard to make sure students not only computer savvy but career ready.

Even Google is jumping on the STEM bandwagon with its Made with Code initiative designed to “help ensure that more girls become the creators, and not just the consumers, of our collective digital future.”

“For students today, coding is becoming an essential skill, just like reading, writing, and math. If you have a daughter, niece, or other girl that you know, encouraging her to learn to code can open up countless opportunities for her future. Whether she’s an athlete or an artist, loves animals, or wants to explore medicine, coding can help her pursue her interests now and create greater career options and job security for her future.” [https://www.madewithcode.com/bigdeal]

Google’s Made with Code website features a variety of free online projects to encourage girls to start “writing their own stories” using code. One of the projects is a coded bracelet in which girls can experiment with Blocky software to create a customized 3D bracelet. [https://www.madewithcode.com/project/bracelet#]

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I tried our hand at coding a 3D bracelet. Just yesterday, our creation came in the mail courtesy of Google and Shapeways.

3D "Made with Code" Bracelet

3D “Made with Code” Bracelet

Technology not only presents artists like me with a new set of tools, but also a new set of challenges. While technology may be changing the way we think of art, I hope the relationship between artist and audience, creator and consumer, will go unchanged.  “It’s what experience can I deliver to you that is provocative, that can change how you think. How can I, the art piece, change your relationship — not to me, but to something else or to the world? That question has nothing to do with technology at all.” [John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design on How Technology is Changing Art]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Project Runway Episode 12: The Finale Collection

November 12, 2011 at 9:41 pm (Project Runway)

One designer, twelve challenges. This is the Studio 109A Challenge.

That is how I started this series of posts about the Project Runway Studio 109A Challenge back on August 10th, about one week after Project Runway Season 9 started. It’s three months later, and this post marks the end of Project Runway Studio 109A and the completion of my last challenge.

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 12 challenged the designers to create a mini collection that emphasized their overall fashion vision. The designers were taken to Governors Island in New York,where they drew inspiration from the beautiful sculptures, extraordinary views and landscapes.

Since I have never visited Governors Island, I decided to draw my inspiration from The North Carolina Museum of Art Park, which is home to over a dozen sculptures, wooded trails, and scenic paths.

Gyre, 1999, by Thomas Sayre

Crossroads, 2005, by Martha Jackson Jarvis

The Conversationalist, 1997 by Chakaia Booker

After spending a beautiful fall North Carolina afternoon walking the trails with my family, I came upon The Conversationalist  by Chakaia Booker made of interlacing repurposed tires. As an artist who has made a career of using repurposed objects in my work, I knew that this was the starting point for my final challenge.

I started with a black synthetic knit fabric. I was drawn to the texture of the fabric, with its woven silver metallic threads, which reminded me of how the the sculpture looked from a distance. I picked up a spool of imitation leather trim, a dark gray cotton for the lining, a lot of interfacing and fusible fleece.

The end result is an elegant evening bag, which even my Tim Gunn wannabe husband said was a nod to The Conversationalist sculpture. I would describe this bag as elegant with an edge, which I think definitely represents me as a designer.

Finale Purse - Project Runway Episode 12

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Armed with inspiration from all of the Project Runway Studio 109A challenges, new techniques, and a boost of confidence from selling my first bag, I am off to create a collection of handbags and accessories to show during a solo exhibition entitled Arm Candy, which will open at Artspace in Downtown Raleigh next May.

I will continue to blog about the collection, my work, and what makes me tick. And with that, I pronounce myself the winner of Project Runway Studio 109A and say my final auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode 11: This Is For The Birds

November 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm (Project Runway)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a  quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“The Raven”, Edgar Allen Poe

There have been a couple of times this season when I thought the Project Runway people were a bunch of cuckoos (The Stilts Challenge). So it should have come as no surprise that one of the challenges quite literally was for the birds.

“We begin with our fourth Advertorial Challenge (but who’s counting!). This one is different. For starters, it’s L’Oréal. Second, there are birds waiting for the designers back at Parsons as their next challenge is announced: they must create a high-fashion runway look inspired by a cockatoo, a parrot, a raven and (if you look closely …) an owl!” [Former Project Runway Contestant Nick Verreos' Blog]

I was drawn to the raven and unlike many of the challenges before, I knew exactly what I was going to design before the episode was over.

Many months ago at a high end fabric store in Miami, Rex Fabrics, I found a black embroidered polyester fabric, which I fell in love with. Since then, I have found comparable fabrics at a fraction of the cost at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC and even Joann’s Fabrics.

What I love about this fabric is its wavy texture, which gives the cloth an almost feather-like appearance (hence, the raven).

Fabric in hand, I set out to create an oversized clutch. I have played with the wristlet and evening bag clutch shape and size, but this time wanted to make something even larger.  The end result is a rectangular bag measuring 17 ” x 9 ” with a chainmail strap and white satin lining.

I have to say I love this bag and realized this past Friday night during the First Friday Gallery Walk in Downtown Raleigh how far my sewing and design skills have come from the first challenge.

For the Birds Purse -- Project Runway Episode 11

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So, one challenge to go. Until the next post (which I am hoping will be towards the end of this week), auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode 10: Sew 70’s

November 4, 2011 at 2:38 am (Project Runway)

And now back to our regularly scheduled program… Between being out of town for my brother’s weddidng and working on the “What Women Want” challenge, I got a little off track. Like many of the Project Runway contestants, I think at this point in the Studio 109A Challenge, I also lost my drive, but I am back on track and determined to finish out the season.

So, Episode 10 found our designers creating a modern look inspired by 70’s fashion. When I think of the 70s, I think of browns, earth tones, and prints.

“The ‘browning of the seventies’ was really a reaction to the psychedelic color  palette of the late sixties.  We’d had enough of The Magical Mystery Tour; now it was time for some marijuana infused color schemes of brown, light brown, dark  brown, red-brown, or orange-brown…. and maybe just a little bit more brown. Accent it with some Harvest Yellow, Avocado Green or more brown, and you’re in  business!” [retrospace.blogspot.com]

On trend, my inspiration came from a paisley corduroy print I found at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store. Christian Dior had his paisley 70’s ties, Guy Laroche his 70’s paisley skirt suit, and Yves Saint Laurent his 70’s paisley peasant blouse. Fast forward to Fashion Week’s 2011 Spring Collections and paisley was prominent.

Vivienne West Spring 2011 Runway Look

“As everyone is aware, the 70s has been the prominent trend on the runway this season.  Synonymous with the psychedelic 70s is the print of paisley.  To modernize the style, designers have been bringing new colors into the print and adding bits of color blocking.” [Cleveland Free Press, May 15, 2011]

Corduroy paisley print in hand, I created a crossbody bag, which is on trend for Fall 2011. I love incorporating hardware on a purse, so I added the twist lock and grommets (from which the strap is attached) to give the paisley print a modern spin.

“Here’s one fashion trend that’s high on style and function. Cross-body purses are cute and stylish, and they’re also the Bluetooth of bags (they keep your hands free).” [Speaking Chic Blog]

Personally speaking, having two kids and needing to keep my hands free, the crossbody bag is my day-to-day bag of choice.

Project Runway Episode 10: Sew 70's Bag

Of course this bag and all of the other bags will be on display this Friday night during the Gallery Walk in Artspace Studio 109A in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market. Also on display at Artspace is the “What Women Want” inspired 25th Anniversary Commemorative Bag and all of the other silent auction gala works of art.

So, two more challenges to go. Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode 8: What Women Want

October 18, 2011 at 2:55 am (Project Runway) ()

The client: Artspace. The challenge (inspired by Episode 8 of Project Runway): to design a commemorative handbag that women will want.

Episode 8 of Project Runway Season 9 found the designers creating a look for a client’s wife or girlfriend. My challenge was to design an accessory, consistent with my client’s brand, that would celebrate the 25th anniversary of this visual art center that I call home.

As many of you know by now, my studio, Studio 109A, is located within Artspace in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market. I moved into Artspace in 2005 and have said time and time again that jurying into the Artspace Artist Association and moving into the building was a turning point in my career as a professional artist. For the last 25 years, Artspace has inspired creative energy by engaging the public in the process of creating art through its educational programs, community outreach, exhibitions, and open studio environment.

On November 19th, Artspace will host its Collector’s Gala and 25th Anniversary Celebration. The event features the unique opportunity for guests to dine in artists’ studios and to enjoy purchasing local artwork in both the live and silent auctions, as well as purchasing artwork displayed throughout the building. Every  year, I donate a piece of artwork for the silent auction. This year, I was asked to design a 25th Anniversary Commemorative Bag.

In some ways, I designed the bag from the inside (lining) out. The inspiration for this handbag came from a postcard Artspace designed for the Gala event. The postcard featured a background graphic that I used to design a custom printed fabric through Spoonflower. I had the fabric printed on Spoonflower’s organic, cotton sateen.

Next, it was off to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC (outside of Charlotte) to find orange fabric. Artspace’s logo is orange and white, and I wanted to stay consistent with the “brand” without designing a bag that looked like a pumpkin. As a back up, I requested orange swatches from Mood Fabrics in New York, the very fabric store featured each week on Project Runway.

While Mood sent me dupioni silk, wool, chenille, and cashmere swatches, I fell in love with Mary Jo’s ultra suede, manufactured by Toray. Ultra suede, like the organic cotton sateen lining, is animal friendly.

Fabric in hand, it was time to design the handbag, a clutch with a detatchable strap that hopefully women will want.

Artspace 25th Anniversary Commemorative Purse

Interior Flap (Custom Designed Fabric Lining)

This bag and many more fabulous pieces of art will be available to preview November 4th during the First Friday Gallery Walk at Artspace and auctioned off at the Artspace Collector’s Gala and 25th Anniversary Celebration on November 19th. Gala tickets are available for purchase online by clicking here.

So, three more challenges to go. Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode 9: Image is Everything

October 6, 2011 at 3:26 am (Project Runway)

First, I would like to welcome the Stylin’ News & Observer readers to the Project Runway Studio 109A blog. I am skipping the Project Runway Episode 8: What Women Want Challenge (for now). I do have a client for the What Women Want Challenge and am in the process of working on very special design, which I will reveal in November. For now, however, it is on to the next challenge, Episode 9: Image is Everything, a.k.a. The Men’s Wear Challenge.

The Sheepdogs

Episode 9 finds the designers creating a look for an up-and-coming band, The Sheepdogs. The Sheepdogs are the first unsigned band to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

“Though the Sheepdogs’ groovy, harmonic, neo-psychedelic sound is easy-going and relaxed, the guys have struggled in their quest to break out of their native
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and into the big time,” says a Rolling Stone spokesperson.

With over 1.5 million votes cast online, the band beat out 15 other bands for Rolling Stone’s Choose the Cover Contest’s top prize, which not only included the August 18th cover, but also a contract with Atlantic Records. [For more, or to hear The Sheepdogs music, visit the Rolling Stone Choose the Cover Contest Page]

My inspiration for this piece came from a comment Sheepdog Guitar Player Leot Hanson made to the designers.

“I have been looking for like red jeans forever,” he said.

Project Runway Season 9 Designer Laura Kathleen couldn’t find red denim at Mood Fabrics in New York, so she dyed the denim she purchased red. I, however, was able to find red denim on a recent visit to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC.

Red denim in hand, I was left with the challenge of creating a men’s accessory. According to Askmen.com Contributor Maggie Kalogeropoulos, men’s bags are masculine, attractive and ideal additions to any contemporary wardrobe. She writes that there are six types of men’s bags: the briefcase, the messenger bag, the hold all, the camera bag, the tote, and the newsboy bag.

Since none of the men in my life, would be caught dead with a men’s bag, I opted for a vest, my first garment.

Since the idea of a vest made entirely of red denim seemed a little effiminate to me, I decided to use the red denim on the front of the vest and pair it with black corduroy for the back. The end result is a somewhat military inspired, lined vest, which considering it is my first garment, I am happy with.

The vest, and all of the Project Runway Studio 109A accessories, will be on display this Friday during the First Friday Gallery Walk in Studio 109A at Artspace in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market.

Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode Seven: Can’t We All Just Get Along (Part 2)

September 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm (Project Runway) ()

Last week I blogged about my visit to Spoonflower fabrics. If you recall, in Episode Seven, the Project Runway Season 9 Designers had to design their own fabric, create a collection, and produce a fashion show.

As many of you know, from my jewelry line, I am inspired by ephemera, everday items of passing interest such as advertisements, photographs, labels, postcards, and letters. One of the reasons I intially incorporated postcards and letters in my jewelry designs, was because my grandfather used to leave love notes underneath my grandmother’s pillow.

So, it should come as no surprise that my fabric design is inspired by vintage postcards and letters. This design was printed on Spoonflower’s new cotton silk fabric.

Vintage postcard design printed on Spoonflower's cotton silk.

I must say after having some trouble work with the silk fabric I used in the last challenge (The Art of the Matter), I was a little worried about using cotton silk for this challenge. However, I will say that Spoonflower’s cotton silk fabric not only sews easily, but is also washable.

Inspired by the cotton silk textile, I designed an evening clutch. To finish off the design, I added a removable cameo brooch, which is very fitting since I collected cameos when I was younger.

Evening clutch with removable cameo brooch.

I am happy with the fabric and the final purse design and will be wearing this purse to my brother’s wedding next month. This textile design is now available for purchase at Spoonflower from $18 to $38 per yard depending on your fabric.

Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode Seven: Can’t We All Just Get Along (Part 1)

September 22, 2011 at 1:58 am (Project Runway) ()

In Episode Seven of Project Runway, the Season 9 designers designed fabrics, created a collection and produced a fashion show. I am acutally going to devote two blog posts to the episode, the first of which will spotlight my visit to Spoonflower. In the interest of full disclosure, the fabrics featured on Project Runway Season 9 Episode 7 were designed on HP TouchSmart computers and printed by Dye-namix, which is located in New York City. Dye-namix’s client list includes Calvin Klein, Coach, J. Mendel, and Ralph Lauren.

Spoonflower makes it possible for the rest of us to design, print, and sell our own fabric. Last spring, I blogged about ordering custom designed fabric from Spoonflower. A couple of weeks ago, after Episode Seven aired, I contacted the company to tell them about my Project Runway Studio 109A challenge. They invited me for a tour of their Durham, NC facility.

My fabric design process started with a vintage image, which I scanned into my computer.  I manipulated the image using Paint.net, a free image and editing software program for computers that run on Windows. After finalizing my image, I created a free account on Spoonflower’s website and uploaded my image.

Once my image was uploaded, I had my choice of fabrics and layout options (centered, basic repeat, half-drop, half-brick, or mirror repeat), which I could preview instantly. I then ordered my design in Spoonflower’s newest fabric, cotton silk.

Spoonflower’s fabrics run anywhere from $18 to $38 per yard, although many of the fabrics come in wide widths. For example, the organic cotton sateen and interlock knit fabrics come in 56 inch widths, while the upholstery weight cotton twill (my favorite) comes in a 58 inch width. I ordered my fabric on a Friday afternoon. Normal shipping times vary (usually from six to seven days), although my fabric was ready by the time I visited Spoonflower on Monday morning.

Spoonflower’s offices are located in a modest office park just outside of North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Lined up inside the lobby are chairs upholstered with fabrics designed by the Spoonflower community which numbers around 150,000 designers from around the world.

Just past the lobby is a warehouse full of fabrics waiting to be shipped and a number of digital textile printers feverishly reeling out design after design. Darci, my tour guide, explained to me that the company prints out around 500 yards of fabric per day and averages 3000 yards ordered per week.

Although the company has been featured in the New York Times, Associated Press, Vogue, Martha Stewart Weddings, Make, CRAFT, ApartmentTherapy, Photojojo, and many others, the owners and employees remain humble, yet passionate about the marriage of technology and textiles that is Spoonflower.

Special thanks to Darci and the Spoonflower team for making me feel so welcome. I can’t wait to share with you my design, but you will have to wait until my next post. Until then, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode Six: The Art of the Matter

September 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm (Project Runway) ()

Project Runway’s Episode Six paired the designers up with students from The Harlem School of the Arts. The designers created a piece of art with the students, which served as the inspiration for their avant garde look.

I hooked up with a student from North Carolina State’s Early College High School. She painted a picture of a sunflower when she was in elementary school and asked if I could use that painting as my inspiration. Once I saw the painting, I immediately thought I might try my hand at a garment, but after several disasterous attempts at installing a zipper into a skirt, I settled on a circle scarf instead.

The tricky part of this challenge was to “interpret” the painting and not to re-create a sunflower accessory, which might turn out more costume than couture. I found a printed silk print which incorporated all of the colors of the initial painting (brown, yellow, and green), and paired it with a solid mustard fabric.

I have to say that personally, I love scarves, so you will be seeing them in my accessory collection. What makes this scarf special in my opinion, is the beautiful print.

So, it’s onto textile challenge. Keep an eye out next week for two posts (the first of which will feature my recent visit to Spoonflower). Until then, auf wiedersehen.

The Art of the Matter inspired scarf.

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Project Runway: Off to the Track

September 7, 2011 at 3:29 am (Project Runway) ()

Episode 5 of Project Runway’s Season 9, finds the designers off to the track… The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory. The designers had to work in teams of three to design three looks for Heidi Klum’s New Balance sneakers.

Heidi Klum New Balance Sneaker

“I love a fashion sneaker that doesn’t look like it belongs in the gym, which was the inspiration for my new Heidi Klum for New Balance sneakers and my Project Runway challenge this season,” said Klum.

Klum’s sneakers come in gray and black suede and pink suede and denim, and the designers were directed to use suede and denim in their designs.

For this challenge, I designed a black and gray suede “fan shaped” purse. Inspired by the “fan shape”, I used an Asian inspired cotton for the lining.

I have to say that at this point in the Studio 109A Project Runway Challenge, this is my favorite bag. The oversized purse would work with practically any of the looks in Klum’s New Balance collection, including Joshua McKinley and Viktor Luna’s winning looks.

Oversized "fan shaped" purse inspired by the Heidi Klum New Balance sneaker challenge.

Asian inspired red, gray, black, and white lining.

I want to thank all of you Project Runway fans who stopped by Studio 109A last Friday night for the First Friday Gallery Walk. I hope to see you next month to show off my New Balance sneaker inspired purse and upcoming avant garde design. Until then… auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges

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