MTSU graduate to receive major 'coverage' on season 16 of 'Project Runway'

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An MTSU graduate will unveil her creations to a nationwide audience as one of this season's participants on "Project Runway."

The 16th season of the fashion-conscious program will debut at 7 p.m. Central time Thursday, Aug. 17, on the Lifetime television network, and 27-year-old Ayana Ife will be one of the 16 contestants.

With a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, the Salt Lake City, Utah, native graduated magna cum laude from MTSU with a bachelor's degree in textiles, merchandising and design in May 2015. Her concentration was in apparel design.


"Ayana was a wonderful student during her time at MTSU," said Rick Cottle, an assistant professor of textiles, merchandising and design. "Students and faculty both recognized her talent, work ethic and integrity."

Ife's website,, shows photos of various fashions that cover the entire body. Some, but not all, of the outfits include head coverings.


"While using contemporary design elements, we resolve the number one concern of our modest sisters, which is unnecessary layering of clothing and sizing up to cover specific body parts," the website states. "By taking this problem-solving approach, we aim to keep our sisters feeling fashion-forward, influential, fearless and elegant."

The "Project Runway" website,, quotes Ife as saying that she applied four times and auditioned twice in hopes of being selected for the program.

"She has a sincere energy and drive to meet her goal as an effective and creative designer of modest clothing," said Lauren Rudd, an assistant professor of textiles, merchandising and design.

For the first time in its history, Project Runway will include models ranging from sizes 0 to 22, which will challenge the contestants to make chic, fashionable clothing for people of all sizes. Rudd said Ife's designs are uniquely well-suited to that challenge.

"Her (Ife's) clothing is always wearable and functional with an edge of creativity and style which speaks to a wide variety of women," said Rudd.

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Ayana Ife, Middle Tennessee State University, MTSU, Murfreesboro news, NewsRadio WGNS, Project Runway
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