Michigan 4-H alum Izzy showcases her passion for fashion on this season’s Project Runway: Junior

A Michigan 4-H'er is living out her childhood dream at the young age of 16. She was a contestant on season two of the reality show "Project Runway: Junior," currently airing on Lifetime TV.

A Michigan 4-H’er is living out her childhood dream at the young age of 16. Even though she’s still in high school, Isabella (Izzy) Kostrzewa is following her passion for fashion and design. She was a contestant on season two of the reality show “Project Runway: Junior,” currently airing on Lifetime TV.

Izzy is a Mount Pleasant native in her junior year at Sacred Heart Academy. She started exploring her fashion interests at a young age, taking part in the 4-H Angels Club in Isabella County. From making pajama pants and pillows to more complex dresses and designs, Izzy said that 4-H set a foundation for where she is today.

“4-H really taught me how to appreciate detail and spend lots of time on the small things such as putting in zippers and hems,” she said.

Izzy got involved in 4-H when she was in the third grade. She says that 4-H played a big part in her initial attraction to sewing as a fun summer pastime that allowed her to show off her sewing and craft skills. Izzy said she enjoyed the opportunity to be critiqued on her work.

“I always thought getting critiqued was a really exciting and interesting time. It’s very similar to when we are critiqued on the show.” 

Her experience in 4-H has also taught Izzy that, with hard work, one can achieve anything. Now living out her dream of creating her own fashion designs, Izzy can remember a time when she submitted a sewing project and didn’t get the grade she wanted. Instead of giving up, the next year Izzy challenged herself by choosing a very difficult project. With some help from a sewing teacher who taught her new techniques, Izzy got the results she wanted on her next project.

 “I was so happy to get reviewed by the judges and hear what they had to say about my design,” she recalled. “I showed myself that hard work is very rewarding and feels great when done!”

''Years later, a more seasoned and skilled Izzy became one of 12 youth competing to showcase their talent in fashion as contestants on Project Runway: Junior. Restricted in time, materials and theme, each young person creates a design that is judged with honest and straightforward critiques. At the end of the season, one well-deserved winner will receive a full scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California, as well as a complete home sewing and crafting studio and a $25,000 cash prize to help launch his or her line. During the taping, Izzy became good friends with the other designers and appreciated the advice from the judges. Overall, she found the experience to be very rewarding.

“I learned so much on the show, not only about fashion and design but about myself as well,” she said.

For those looking to follow in Izzy’s footsteps, she had some great advice.

“Consider joining 4-H. It's a great experience, especially if you're new to making crafts or if you love agriculture and raising animals. The most important thing, I would say, is to find a great group that will support you and have lots of people you can get advice from. It’s not an easy thing to do and requires a lot of hard work, but you'll also meet a lot of hardworking people and have a lot of fun doing it!”

Izzy's winning look for episode 1 of Project Runway: Junior | Photo by Lifetime

To learn more about Michigan 4-H and activities that Izzy participated in, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

Watch this season of Project Runway: Junior to see more of Izzy’s work, airing Thursday at 9 p.m. (8 CST) on Lifetime.

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