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January 30, 2020

'Project Runway' contestant from Philly is oldest designer to compete on show

Nancy Volpe Beringer, 65, stayed on for another episode last night, further advancing her in the contest.

Nancy Volpe Beringer, 65, is the oldest and only remaining Philadelphia contestant on this season of Bravo's "Project Runway." 

Beringer began Season 18 of the competitive fashion show along with West Philly designer Asma Bibi, 31, who designs clothing for her label Hijabi Pop. She was eliminated in the first episode. 

Eight episodes have passed since then, and Beringer is still sticking aroundThe designer told WHYY that she's stayed on the show this long "by keeping her head down, focusing on her work, and staying away from infighting." But Beringer is not completely exempt from the show's notorious drama.

And even though the other remaining contestants are half her age, she has less clothes designing experience than most on the show. 

Beringer only started in the fashion world in 2013, when she was 58. She had raised two adult sons and decided she wanted to pursue a full-time creative career. So she to quit her job quit her job working for the New Jersey Education Association and enrolled at Drexel University. Beringer graduated with a master's degree in fashion design in 2016. 

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Even prior to "Runway," Beringer's fame began to build, especially after North Philly musician Tierra Whack wore Beringer's dress to the 2019 Grammy's. Whack found the dress displayed in Joan Shepp, a fashion concept store in Center City. 

Since, Beringer also has designed an outfit for Drexel President John Fry's wife and other custom pieces for clients. And she sells clothes on her website.

This "Project Runway" season wasn't first to host Philly designers. Seven local designer contestants have appeared on Runway prior to Beringer. In 2016, West Philly's Dom Streater became the first woman to win both "Project Runway" and "Project Runway Allstars."

Another Philly contestant, Renee Hill from Season 17, and Beringer met Wednesday in New York and both hinted that a collaboration between the two of them might be in store.

Thursday night's episode put Beringer in the clear, as she was not eliminated and is staying on for another episode.

Project Runway will air again next Thursday night, Feb. 6 on Bravo at 9 p.m.