MURFREESBORO — An MTSU alumna’s career just got a big boost with a second-place finish in a national contest.
Ayana Ife placed second in the 16th season of “Project Runway,” a fashion reality program that airs on the Lifetime television network. The 27-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah, native impressed the judges with her determination that fashions for modest women need not be dowdy or cumbersome.
Ife graduated magna cum laude from MTSU with a bachelor’s degree in textiles, merchandising and design in May 2015. Her focus was apparel design.
Her final collection, titled “Evolution,” was intended to chronicle her personal journey. It featured shimmering tops and slacks, as well as long gowns, head coverings and a cream-colored wedding gown with gold accents and a matching headdress and veil.
“I’m so proud of everything,” said Ife in the Thursday night season finale. “I said I was going to do it, and I did it, and I’m just so happy that I was given this opportunity.”
While the judges lavished high praise on Ife, the top prize went to Kentaro Kameyama, whose Japanese heritage informed his fashion aesthetic.
Ife and the 15 other competitors were obligated to design for models ranging in size from 0 to 22, challenging them to create fashions for a variety of body shapes. Lauren Rudd, an assistant professor of textiles, merchandising and design, said Ife’s designs are uniquely well-suited to that challenge.
“Her clothing is always wearable and functional, with an edge of creativity and style which speaks to a wide variety of women,” Rudd said of Ife’s work.
“Ayana was a wonderful student during her time at MTSU,” said Dr. Rick Cottle, an assistant professor of textiles, merchandising and design. “Students and faculty both recognized her talent, work ethic and integrity.”
For more information about MTSU’s Textiles, Merchandising and Design Program, go to www.mtsu.edu/programs/apparel-design.