NEW YORK — Many teenage girls dream about becoming a fashion designer, but 13-year-old Hilary Presti of Janesville, Wisc., turned her vision into reality.

As the grand prize winner of Aeropostale’s Aero “Be a Designer” Sweepstakes, Presti, accompanied by her mother, spent three days on a whirlwind trip to Manhattan earlier this month. She took in two Broadway plays, toured the city, and worked alongside the Aeropostale design team to create an original T-shirt that will be made and sold by the retail chain. The design contest, which marks a first for Aeropostale, is being held in conjunction with an online marketing campaign.

An athletic teenager who plays oboe and piano, Presti said she was surprised when she learned she’d been selected from a pool of thousands of contestants.

“My whole trip was exciting,” she said, “although I really liked getting to work with the designers to design my T-shirt.”

The budding designer came to New York armed with eight potential T-shirt designs, which she narrowed to five after re-creating her drawings on the Aeropostale design studio’s computers.

“I think that it will be kind of odd seeing people wearing something that was my own idea,” Presti said. “It will be cool, though, knowing that I made something that kids in my school will be wearing.”

Her tropically inspired design features yellow Moonlight Beach graphics on a dark blue shirt, which will sell for two for $20 with other graphic Ts and will be available at Aeropostale locations from Aug. 16.

Can we expect to see the name Hilary Presti at the forefront of fashion a few years down the line?

“Before I went to Aeropostale, I wanted to be a radiologist or an opthamologist,” said Presti, who is attending camp this summer. “But being a clothing designer would be a really fun job.” — Julie Zeveloff

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