Chicago designer competes in new 'Project Runway'

Chicago designer Katelyn Pankoke will be among the 16 designers competing in the Season 11 of "Project Runway" when it premieres at 8 p.m. CT Jan. 24 on Lifetime.

The new season is the first ever teams edition, so the 23-year-old creative force behind Elaya Vaughn Bridal will be be paired with another designer and they will have to make it work together. Pankoke is originally from Parkland, Fla.

The designers didn't learn they would be competing as teams until after the arrived in New York to begin filming. According to a Lifetime press release, the twist threw the designers into a panic as the newly made teams were tasked with using New York as their inspiration to create their first competition garments.

We'll learn what the teams are in that first episode.

Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia return to the show, with Zac Posen as a featured judge and Season 4 "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano as a guest judge. Other guest judges will include Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Emmy Rossum, Kristin Davis, Jordana Brewster and designer Rachel Roy.

Below are the 15 other designers.

Amanda Valentine, 31
Hometown: Lincoln, Neb.; resides in Nashville, Tenn.

Benjamin Mach, 35
Hometown: Sydney, Australia; resides in London, England

Cindy Marlatt, 59
Hometown: Kent, Wash.; Resides in Kent, Wash.

Daniel Esquivel, 48
Hometown: Austin, Texas; Resides in Austin, Texas

Emily Pollard, 24
Hometown: Richfield, Ohio; Resides in Falls Church, Va.

James Martinez, 29
Hometown: Dallas, Texas; Resides in Dallas, Texas

Joseph Aaron Segal, 30
Hometown: Framingham, Mass.; Resides in Providence, RI

Layana Aguilar, 28
Hometown: Valadares, Brazil; Resides in New York, NY

Mat Arthur, 30
Hometown: Hammond, La.; Resides in New Orleans

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, 34
Hometown: Portland, Ore.; Resides in Portland, Ore.

Patricia Michaels, 46
Hometown: Taos, N.M.; Resides in Taos, NM.

Richard Hallmarq, 40
Hometown: Sacramento, Cali.; Resides in Sacramento

Samantha Black, 28
Hometown: Bronx, NY/ Fairfield, Conn.; Resides in Brooklyn, NY

Stanley Hudson, 45
Hometown: Pomona, Cal.; Resides in West Hollywood

Tu Nakchat, 26
Hometown: Chacheangsao, Thailand; Resides in Springfield, Va.

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