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Knitting / Apparel

Fashion Futures

Students at major fashion colleges are supported by the industry with both financial aid and know-how.

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

Student fashion competitions held annually at prestigious fashion institutions not only offer cash prizes to winners, but also provide knowledge about products, where to find them and how to use them. Many are sponsored by international industry organizations and work through all levels of the supply chain.

Left to right: Kim Hall, marketing manager, RadiciSpandex; Sarah Ineson, Grand Prize and Eveningwear winner of RadiciSpandex's "Stretch to the Future" design competition at the Fashion School of Kent State University; and designer Tadashi Shoji, this year's honoree designer judge, present Ineson's winning garment.        

Feel The Yarn
Now in its second edition, "Feel the Yarn," a promotional event featuring yarn made in Tuscany, recently held a training session in Prato, Italy, for 21 students from seven fashion colleges around the world. The initiative is promoted by Toscana Promozione, the Agency for the Economic Promotion of Tuscany; and ICE, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade; in collaboration with Consorzio Promozione Filati and Pitti Immagine.

During training, students were introduced to fibers, colors and yarns at a workshop organized by Ornella Bignami, coordinator of the project. They met with spinners to learn about the design and manufacturing phases of yarn for knitwear. Each selected yarns to use to create three outfits that they submitted for the competition, themed "From Shadow to Light." Judges considered each student's creative use of color and contrasting materials such as thick and thin, smooth and coarse, and fluid and compact yarns.

Schools selected include Parsons The New School for Design, New York City; Senac São Paulo, Brazil; Polimoda, Italy; Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and Royal College of Art, United Kingdom; Bunka Fashion College, Japan; and BIFT Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, China. Garments were displayed and judged at the Pitti Filati yarn fair in Florence, Italy. Selection of the winning entry was chosen based 40-percent on response from show visitors and 60-percent on evaluations by an international panel of judges.

Mills involved in the project include Ecafil Best, Filati BE.MI.VA., Filati Biagioli Modesto, Filpucci, GI.TI.BI. Filati, Ilaria Manifatture Lane, Industria Italiana Filati, Lanificio dell'Olivio, Linsieme Filati, Manifattura Igea, New Mill/Fashion Mill, Pecci Filati and Pinori Filati. 

The winning garment, announced on the last day of the show, was designed by Parsons graduate student Soojin Kang. Her one-piece dress was created using lustrous, highly twisted cotton yarns from Lanificio dell'Olivio and was made from one piece of fabric that Kang knitted at Parsons. She used plastic horse hair tubing to give shape and drape.

Soojin Kang used lustrous cotton yarns from Lanificio dell'Olivio to knit the fabric used in her winning garment at "Feel the Yarn."

Kent State University
In New York City, RadiciSpandex Corp., Gastonia, N.C., a subsidiary of RadiciGroup, Italy, awarded prizes to juniors from the Fashion School at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.

Participants in RadiciSpandex's 11th annual "Stretch to the Future" design competition created swimwear, activewear, lingerie and eveningwear using fabrics containing RadElast® spandex. The lingerie award was sponsored by The Underfashion Club Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides the intimate apparel industry with a forum to exchange information, discuss needs and focus on the importance of the industry as a whole.  

Kim Hall, RadiciSpandex marketing manager, noted that stretch fabrics containing spandex take a special expertise to style and sew. With the trend toward casual, comfortable attire, stretch is in greater demand than ever. Hall said RadiciSpandex is working with design students to give them that special ability to work with stretch. Fabrics for the competition were donated by Ames Textiles, Cyberknit Fabrics, Darlington Fabrics, Eagle Fabrics, Guilford Performance Textiles, Markbilt Technical Fabrics, McMurray Fabrics, Polartec, Prescott  Finishing, Rentex, Royal Lace, Sextet Fabrics, Swisstex, TDB Tecidos and Tweave LLC.

After winners are selected by the judging panel, an overall Grand Prize winner is chosen from among the four winning garments. This year's winners were selected from a field of 53 students. Sarah Ineson was the Grand Prize and Eveningwear winner for her one-shouldered gown created in a black stretch fabric from Darlington Fabrics. The gown curves the body and is studded with crystal sparkles. Amanda Heslinga won the Activewear prize with her two-piece design featuring a black bandeau top embellished with pink bands and matching pants, in fabrics from Darlington and Guilford Performance Textiles. Lingerie honors went to Alexandria Petrus for a bra-and-panty set in a variety of  fabrics from Ames Textiles, Darlington, Hornwood and McMurray Fabrics. The Swimwear prize went to Madelyn Winfield of Zelienaple, Pa. Winfield designed and made a one-piece suit and cover-up using fabrics donated by Darlington, Sextet Fabrics and Polartec. 

Tadashi Shoji, a noted eveningwear designer based in Los Angeles, was this year's honoree designer judge. The Tadashi label is carried in more than 4,000 major department and specialty stores worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Macy's. Also on the judging panel was 2005 Grand Prize winner Kristy Chen, now an assistant designer for the contemporary label Doo.Ri. Other judges came from the fashion design, retail, textile and publishing fields.

Pratt Institute
Cotton Incorporated, Cary, N.C., named three winners from the graduating class of Pratt Institute, New York City, for their designs using cotton.

This year, 34 junior fashion design students participated in the semester-long sportswear design competition sponsored by the Importer Support Program of The Cotton Board and managed by Cotton Incorporated. The three winning designs were on display as part of the annual Pratt Fashion Show. 

Juan Pozo was first-place winner. The American college prep look inspired his outfit that combined cotton twill, denim, chambray, sateen and shirting fabrics. Second place went to Matthew Bruch, whose ombré blue swing coat worn with a voile man's shirt had the option of a blue waffle weave skirt or wide-leg pants in black twill. Third-place winner Theresa Deckner used bold colors and an unexpected combination of prints. Her reversible jacket, ikat blouse and bustier could be worn with high-waisted jeans or a full skirt.    

Hamish Bowles, European editor at large for Vogue magazine, was this year's recipient of Pratt's Fashion Icon Award. In announcing the award, Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte said, "Hamish is a true fashion icon and certainly has been an inspiration to Pratt's Department of Fashion Design and its students." Diane von Furstenberg, founder of global luxury lifestyle brand DVF and 2006 recipient of Pratt's Fashion Icon Award, presented the award to Bowles.          

The 2011 Pratt Fashion Show featured the best work of 18 graduating seniors. Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, acting chair, Department of Fashion Design, described their work as "extremely fresh and innovative." Collections included sportswear, menswear, costumes, evening and bridal.  

MaRu Jung's "Bohemian Travelers" sportswear collection featured a lot of layering and unusual combinations of fabrics. Fringed shorts were shown under a long-sleeved tie-dyed knit top and an appliquéd short-sleeved open jacket. The "Poetic Time" sportswear collection of Megan Jones, who has worked for Donna Karan, had a dressier look. Puckered fabrics in soft and creamy tan shades were combined with pleated sheers and topped with chunky knits casually thrown around shoulders. Olivia Y. Choi, who interned with Diane von Furstenberg, appliquéd thick, ruffled strips to fabrics she used for dresses and jackets. There was a casual feel to Elisha Rho's evening collection. An intricately draped satin top was shown with narrow black pants and a melton wool jacket.

July/August 2011