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If you couldn't guess from Nina Garcia's absence from much of Project Runway's Los Angeles-based season, she's more of a New York City fan.

Lifetime announces new Project Runway cast

"I am very happy to be back in New York City," Garcia told about the Big Apple setting for Season 7 (debuting Thursday at 10/9c on Lifetime). The New York-based fashion director for Marie Claire says she'll be present for every episode this time around.

Part of what she calls the show getting "back to normal" with the New York return is its new crop of designers, which Garcia says is among the best in Runway history.

"We went about the process of casting a little differently this time," says Garcia. "I think we did a more extensive reach in terms of the designers and we got a very professional, [talented] and focused group. You'll notice and it's very impressive."

Another mark of the return to the country's fashion capital? The experts are a bit more "fashion insider."

"They're not obscure names, but not names that maybe everybody has heard of but are very important in the fashion business."

Nicole Richie to guest-judge on Project Runway

So far, the only confirmed guest-judge is Nicole Richie, who's currently working on her own clothing line.

"[Richie] is very articulate, very smart, and very opinionated, which is sometimes hard," Garcia says.

Season 7 of Project Runway premieres Jan. 14 at 10/9c on Lifetime.

Are you excited for its NYC return?