Hundreds of patrons packed The FlatFile Gallery, 217 N. Carpenter, Sept. 30, as 'Project ALMA' was hosted by the Association of Latino Men for Action ( ALMA ) , an organization for Latino GBQ ( gay, bi and questioning ) men.
The event was a take-off of the popular Bravo TV show Project Runway, down to a runway show that featured the clothes of local Latino designers Miguel Becerril; Carol Piñeiro, Horacio Nieto, Carla S. Rivera and James De Colón. There was also a silent auction that showcased everything from artwork to goods from Steamworks to Lisa Marie Presley concert tickets; in addition, there were vendors present, including E&J Designs and Marlene Saadia's Boutique & Bridal.
In another reference to the aforementioned TV series, the special guest for the event ( and the VIP reception ) was designer Nick Verreos, who competed on season two of Project Runway. Before the show began, Verreos acknowledged that he is actually half Venezuelan and half Greek but added that he is '100 percent Latina,' to the cheers of the crowd. After the show, he told Windy City Times that he was impressed by what he saw: 'It was amazing. One thing that I said when I judged [ applicants for the third season ] was, 'Where are the Chicago designers?'—and here they are, and I wished they had shown up when I was here. The actual person we picked from Chicago was actually from Kansas. Hopefully, next season [ the designers ] won't feel like the show is below them.'