St. Catherine University's Fashion Design and Merchandising Department recently held its first annual fashion competition for fashion-forward high school students.
Fourteen creative high school students submitted original designs and handmade examples of t-shirts and face masks.
The fashion department incorporates sustainability into everything they do, and this competition was no exception. Students were encouraged to find ways to reuse, upcycle, and include sustainable materials in their designs, and these amazing young designers took up the challenge with verve.
A few examples include a hand crocheted face mask with a pocket for an air filter made from reclaimed yarn that converts into a pocket book when the mask is no longer needed (Liam McCallister), a t-shirt adorned with painted coffee filters (Hannah Washington), and used clothing cut up and stitched into something trendy and new (Ana Mendoza, Kaija Lee, and Josephine Crow). There was no limit to the ways these students were able to repurpose materials and reduce waste. "I was blown away by their creativity and ingenuity," says Anupama Pasricha, PhD, fashion department chair.
Many students also included social justice messaging in their designs. Patience Akok designed a hashtag shape using the names of Americans killed by police brutality, with an eye to keeping their names alive after the trend has faded. Alexandra Koopman incorporated a beautiful message of unity with her striking black and white face mask embellished with hand embroidered flowers.
Jacqueline Parr, assistant professor of fashion merchandising, says, "It was amazing to see the creativity, passion, and innovation that students submitted in their designs! It was a tough competition and we had some amazing submissions!"
Students were judged by a panel of fashion department faculty, a fashion department alumna, St. Kate’s staff, and an industry expert. Awards were given out for social justice messaging, sustainability, wearability, most innovative, and best overall design.
“I was so impressed by the participating students who were clearly inspired by the competition and their own creativity. St. Kate's fashion program, led by its talented faculty, is a jewel for students passionate about fashion design and merchandising and this demonstrates why,” says Ben Whitney, dean of the School of Business.
The event was sponsored by the Grand Hand Gallery, an art gallery in St. Paul that features and supports community artists. Cash prizes from Grand Hand Gallery are being delivered this week to the seven award winners. St. Kate’s and the participating students are so grateful for the investment Grand Hand Gallery has made in the work and development of aspiring artists and designers.