Louisville’s newest shining star, Zach Lindsey, is sewing his way to the top of the fashion world – stitch by stitch. The 16 year-old YPAS (Youth Performing Arts School) student is currently competing on the first season of Lifetime’s “Project Runway: Junior”.
In addition to being the first contestant on the show to represent the Bluegrass state of Kentucky – Lindsey also has the honor of being the first African-American male to compete on the program as well.
“Project Runway: Junior” is a spinoff of the successful Lifetime series “Project Runway”. Runway Junior is a hour-long weekly program which features twelve teenage fashion designers – ages 13-17 – from all over the country.
The program premiered on November 12, 2015 and airs every Thursday at 9pm ET on the Lifetime Network. The show will feature 12 episodes – with the finale airing on Thursday February 4, 2016.
“Project Runway: Junior” is hosted by Emmy Award winner Tim Gunn and its celebrity cast of judges include supermodel Hannah Davis, Kelly Osbourne, designer Christian Siriano and executive fashion editor at Cosmopolitan and Seventeen Magazine – Aya Kanai.
The show’s format is based upon contestants designing and creating women’s clothing which will then be critiqued and judged. Each contestant will be given a fashion challenge at the beginning of each episode. The challenge usually involves designing a custom piece of clothing based on the instructions and specifications provided.
There will be a winner and loser of each challenge. The loser of the challenge is immediately eliminated from the competition/show. The winner of the final challenge will win “Project Runway: Junior”.
FLOTUS – Michelle Obama – issued the fashion challenge via video during the December 10th episode and actress Bella Thorne will serve as a guest judge for the final challenge.
The winner of “Project Runway: Junior” will receive a full scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FDIM) in California, a complete home sewing and crafting studio provided by Brother, a feature in Seventeen Magazine and a $25,000 cash prize, to help launch their design line.
Lindsey is a high school junior who is majoring in Design and Production. That field of study focuses on costume design, set design, and lighting & sound design. His excellence in fashion design, mirrors his academic excellence – as he maintains a 3.7 gpa.
Lindsey’s mother – Ramona Lindsey – is a textile artist and is currently the director of education at KMAC (Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft). Lindsey’s mother taught him to sew at an early age however; he didn’t begin designing clothing until he was much older.
“I taught him how to use a basic sewing machine and how to do a straight stitch in about the 5th or 6th grade and he wanted to learn more. He started deconstructing clothes and looking at how clothes were made and then went from making pillows to actually creating garments.” – Ramona Lindsey
Initially, Lindsey would use his sewing skills to design pillows but around the winter of 2013, he began to venture into the world of fashion design.
He created his first ensemble which was a white two-piece halter top and a long coordinating skirt. He considers it to be the worst piece he’s ever designed but admits that it sparked the fire inside him to take fashion design seriously.
After becoming confident with his designing abilities, Lindsey participated in the KMAC Couture fashion show in April 2014. The response to his garments from fashion onlookers was overwhelmingly positive and sent him soaring on an all-time high.
Over the next few weeks he began performing random Google searches looking for different fashion industry events that he could possibly attend. During one of those searches he discovered the application for “Project Runway: Junior”. Since the application was free – he decided to apply.
Lindsey would have to move quickly. The application deadline for submission was within four days – and photos, videos and a biography were required. Being short of time and cash, Lindsey solicited his friends and family to help him compile enough useful material to submit with his application.
His female friends from school modeled the clothing he created and his sister filmed the videos for him. He quickly scripted a personal and professional biography and submitted them all before the deadline.
Surprisingly, executives from the show contacted him within a few weeks and invited him to New York City for an interview. Lindsey was ecstatic but his family lacked the funds necessary to make the trip. Wanting to make his dreams come true – the Louisville community came together and assisted with the funds needed.
“We drove 12 hours from Louisville to New York… So we made a family road trip out of it. I did my interview there and then I was called later on to tell me that I was casted for Project Runway Junior.” – Zach Lindsey
Filming began during the summer of 2015, and although Lindsey already knows the outcome of the show – he’s keeping that information to himself – as the show requires.
However; he would reveal that his creative style is geared towards women’s luxury; high-end designs. He also disclosed that he was the winner of the week 6 challenge (which has already aired) and feels as though the judges are impressed with his work.
“I’ve been told by the judges plenty of times about how sophisticated my pieces were and their craftsmanship and sensibility to a woman’s body. They seem to really like me.” – Zach Lindsey
In addition to “Project Runway: Junior”, Lindsey has recently started his own fashion line labeled Zach Lindsey. On Saturday February 6, 2016 – two days following the “Project Runway: Junior” finale – Lindsey is hosting the Zach Lindsey SS16 Opulence Trunk Show which is a fashion expedition featuring his garments. Information and tickets can be obtained at www.zachlindsey.com
“I recently started my fashion company, ‘Zach Lindsey’, so the goal for me is to have my fashion house based around high-end women’s clothing and branch out to do men’s wear and kid’s wear and then also do home accessories.”
Be sure to catch Zach Lindsey on “Project Runway: Junior” each Thursday evening at 9pm ET.