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"Project Runway" Wants You! 

The other day Tim Gunn, the kindly mentor on Lifetime's "Project Runway" and all-around dashing fellow, gave me a call. He was all like "Hi, Lauren. This is Tim Gunn. Can you get some Vermonters to audition for "Project Runway"? We're tired of these slick city kids and their geometric, bedazzled pap. Thanks." Then he gave me air kisses over the phone and hung up before I could say anything.

Because I love Tim Gunn and wish he was my rad gay uncle, I vowed to help him recruit some crafty clothiers who are tired of toiling anonymously in the sartorial backwater that is Vermont. But I found it a little odd that Tim (and his plucky German liebchen Heidi Klum) would want a Vermonter in the fray. I mean, we're known for our fashion like the British are known for their good teeth. Last I checked, hemp necklaces, patchwork pants and Jesus sandals weren't exactly burning up the Paris runways. Nor were North Face puff coats, Carrharts or Ugg boots from four seasons ago. 

The ice skating outfit in the middle bottom row is what I wore to work yesterday. Big hit.

But he was insistent. They must have Vermonters. Particularly those hayseeds with an eye for design and a good backstory ("I'm doing this for my grampa who died in a tragic milking accident. He was always so supportive of my craft."). And by design they don't mean you know how to patch your jeans or darn your socks. They're not looking for a Gandhi-esque homespun collection. They are looking for real designers. Here's the email sent by an actual human casting agent at the company that produces the show:

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum want you! Project Runway is casting season 8; do you have what it takes to be the next top fashion designer? Do you want a chance to show your fashion designs during New York Fashion Week? Do you want to win $100,000 to launch your own fashion line? Project Runway is looking for the next great fashion designer. The deadline to receive applications is April 22; applicants can apply at or email us at Don't miss the chance of a lifetime. Apply today!

Thanks so much for your help. We really don't want VT to miss out!

Thanks and take care,


If I could make anything more than a horrible noise or a soup from a can, I would totally apply. But since I'm no Kathy Lee Gifford or Hilary Duff, I figure I'll leave the applying to the fashion design experts. That doesn't mean all you budding Tom Fords out there in the hinterlands shouldn't apply. They want you. And I want you.

As a former avid viewer of "Project Runway" (before they moved the show to Lifetime and made it mad crappy) I would love to have a reason to watch the show again. I promise, as sure as Vermont's changing leaves draw legions of city folk who think seeing a squirrel nibble on a pizza crust constitutes a nature experience, that I will root for any Vermonter who makes it on the show. Hell, I'll probably throw a parade in your honor and petition the governor to give you the key to every city in the damn state. 

So if you're a Vermonter and you make clothes (which probably means also built your own house, can your own homegrown vegetables and run your car on corn husks and dog turds), you should totally sign up. Bryant Park is calling. 

(PS- Applicants must rock a lesbian haircut, a keffiyah, chunky glasses, a jaunty cap or homosexuality to be eligible.)

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Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2011.

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