Project Funway fashion show fundraiser returns to Vail |

Project Funway fashion show fundraiser returns to Vail

Expect the unexpected at Project Funway, where creativity and fundraising efforts come together to make for some awesome outfits and great outcomes for area school kids.

In its eighth year, the event invites locals to come up with all sorts of outfits made out of anything but fabric. Bike tire tubes, hockey sticks, even detergent bottles have been fashioned into something unique and wearable.

The event is hosted by the Education Foundation of Eagle County (EFEC), a 501(c)3 organization that exists to support the intellectual and emotional needs of Eagle County students. EFEC focuses on in-school enrichment, mental health services and retaining top teachers.

The event is not only creative, it’s also competitive. The outfits will be rated by a group of judges led by Mondo Guerra of “Project Runway”, “Project Runway All Stars” and “Under the Gunn”, who returns for a second year.

Rounding out the rest of the judging panel are locals Laurie O’Connell, owner of Perch and Grey Salt clothing stores; Beth Slifer, interior design expert and founder of Slifer Designs; Abby Fox of the Gorsuch family; Lisa Schanzer, EFEC board member and local philanthropist; and Brittany Bowlen of the Denver Broncos family.

Each year you never know what to expect out of the creative minds of dedicated locals who spend hours on their creations. Sara Manwiller, who has entered and modeled outfits on stage ever since the event’s inception says it’s a time consuming effort, but worth it.

“I’ll probably spend 40 hours or more on my creation,” Manwiller said. “But it’s a great bonding experience for me and my daughter. We each make our own outfits. Last year we both got third place in our respective categories.”

Due to the popularity of this event, there are now three categories of designers: adult (18 years and older), young adult (13-17) and youth (12 and under). The call for designers filled up in December for this event, which is on Saturday at Dobson Arena.

The evening kicks off at 6 pm with a silent auction and a buffet dinner. Auction items include jewelry and apparel from local boutiques, artwork, a wine tasting for 12, restaurant gift certificates, even a hypnosis session.

All proceeds from the evening support EFEC and this year, the funds raised will go toward getting a school therapist in each school to support children’s mental health. For tickets and a preview of the auction items, visit or feel free to make a donation if unable to attend.

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