S.F. designer among ‘Project Runway’ hopefuls 

Like most reality show contestants — and there are more and more of them popping up in these curious modern times — 31-year-old Jay Nicolas Sario just wants to make it big and strut happily into a future that looks gorgeous and feels profitable.
If only it were that easy. 

Before Sario, who lives in San Francisco, can claim fame, he’s going to have do more than just sparkle on the seventh season of “Project Runway,” which premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday on Lifetime.

The designer will also have to make nice with the show’s fashion police — Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia — as well as maneuver his way through an emotional battlefield filled with 15 other egos and personalities vying for a cash prize of $100,00 and other perks.

“When all 16 of us were introduced to each other, I looked around and I thought ‘everyone is so talented this season,’” Sario, who is originally from the Philippines, says. “I thought, ‘This is going to be hard.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know what is going to happen to me — am I going to go home or am I going to stay?’”

At the moment, the visual merchandiser and lead stylist in the children’s division for Gap Inc. — whose favorite designer is Alexander­ McQueen — is staying. Still, there are many creative threads that make up the popular reality show and things can turn in an instant.

This season, the designers are back in New York’s Atlas apartments. The stakes seem to have been raised with the designers diving back into the “Manhattan mood.”

Sario isn’t the only Bay Area resident in “Project Runway.” Oakland’s Amy Sarabi, 26, is also part of the competition.

“A lot of people think it’s about all these people with great personalities, but it’s not about that,” Sario says. “I feel like this is truly a talent competition. I can sell my ass all day and not have to say anything or do anything to create  dramatic television. The point is to create clothes — you can create drama through the clothes that you are designing.”

Sario says his clothes are both “approachable” and “innovative.”

In the end, they will be up for review by the masses. Still, San Francisco has already proven one thing about its reality show contestants — from foodies to fashion hounds: They show remarkable endurance. And you can’t design that.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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