By Amanda Marinaccio
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Watch out Gucci, move over Prada, there is a new designer in town, and the amazing part is she hasn’t even finished the 5th grade.

Growing up on Hone Avenue, ten-year-old Maria A. Manolis has been drawing since she could hold a crayon and plans to become a designer after attending the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“Her first attempt at designing was draping fabrics when she was a toddler,” said Elena Manolis. “From 4 years old on she was doing basic shapes, and by 6 she was drawing people and dresses.”

An honor student at the Greek American Institute, Maria A. Manolis was the youngest designer selected to display her work in the Shortstack’s 3rd Annual Charity Fashion Show.

Shortstack Modeling Agency is a youth run program, sponsored by Window’s of Opportunity, Inc., aimed at providing opportunities for young girls that do not fit the ‘typical’ modeling standards.

Designers selected will choose a model and, if needed, be connected with a dressmaker.

Coming from a family of designers, Maria A. Manolis had her grandmother, Maria Manolis, to assist.

Maria Manolis is owner of MOD Fabric and Wedding Center Inc., located 1736 Edison Avenue, where her granddaughter was able to pick out the fabric and find a dressmaker to make her vision become a reality.

The dress designed for the show was hot pink satin and fuchsia chiffon, her favorite colors and fabrics to work with. She arrived in style, wearing another dress of her own design.

The show took place on Friday, June 19, in Manhattan.

“I went to the fashion show last year and it was pretty amazing,” said Maria A. Manolis. “I was excited to see my design on a person that a few hundred people saw.”

Proceeds from the benefit went to Windows of Opportunity, Inc., a nonprofit youth organization, distributing the money amongst it’s many programs, including the Rainbow Connection, HIV/AIDS Empowerment & Leadership Program, Peer Leadership, Teens Against Domestic Abuse, and The “Inner You” Program for Eating Disorders.

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