2018 “Fashion for All” Student Design Competition Winners
By: Manisha Patel
Meet the Winners of the 2018 “Fashion for All” Student Design Competition
AATCC is delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 2nd annual AATCC and Runway of Dreams Foundation Fashion for All Student Design Competition!
This year’s theme challenged students from colleges and universities across the country to design a clothing or accessory item that reimagines fashion and function for people who are seated/wheelchair users. The new item was required to enhance the everyday existence of the wearer and/or their caregiver. See the full competition guidelines for more details.
Winners and Awards: See the Winning entries and meet the winners!
Five entries qualified as finalists. Based on the quality and merit of each finalist’s entry, the Runway of Dreams Foundation will award scholarships to all five at various levels:
Runway of Dreams Foundation will award Sophisticated Slacks by Jessica Bachansingh from Florida State University a $5,000 scholarship. The award will be presented at the Runway of Dreams Foundation Gala on June 7, 2018 in NYC (with up to $1,000 travel and lodging stipend).
Jessica Bachansingh is a Retail Entrepreneurship major. She says, “From this competition I learned to make clothing to fit the needs of consumers. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the needs of wheelchair users and how so many needs are unmet by current clothing. You never think of how difficult the shopping process is for those who are disabled. I also got to practice my sewing skills.”
Runway of Dreams Foundation will award two entries for second place, Sea Stars by Allison Steffen from Michigan State University and Hustle & Bustle by Melissa Rodgers from Immaculata University. They both will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship.
Allison Steffen is majoring in Apparel and Textile Design. She says, “Through participation in the AATCC/Runway of Dreams Fashion for All Student Design Competition I learned the importance of designing for a purpose. In this instance, my purpose was enhancing the everyday life of a wheelchair user. I am thankful I could create a design that provides fashion and function to an underrepresented population within the fashion industry. I learned that in the future, I aspire to continue to design with the purpose of multi-functionality.”
Melissa Rodgers is a Fashion Merchandising major with a Product Development minor. From participating in this competition, Rodgers has learned there is an entire group of people that is drastically underrepresented in the fashion industry. She says “we should be doing everything we can to make their lives easier.”
Runway of Dreams Foundation will award the entry Gilded by Andrea Bilgrien from the University of Missouri, Columbia a $1,000 scholarship.
Bilgrien is a Textile and Apparel Management major, Product Development track. She says “This competition was an exciting and challenging experience for me. My submission “Gilded” was a fruitful exercise in using creative problem solving to produce more inclusive designs. I was able to test the waters of user-centered design through the research and production phases of my garment. The Fashion For All competition has given me a new perspective from which I can tackle my future designs, as well as a new passion for adaptable apparel design.”
Mosnia is a Textiles and Apparel: Apparel, Functional and Technical Design major. She says “I was able to get a lot out of this competition. I learned how to manage my time when working on something like this and I learned the importance of designing for those with disabilities. Before this competition I never really recognized the need for fashion and clothing that people with disabilities have. After doing extensive research I learned that people who are disabled don’t have a lot of options to wear that are functional as well as fashionable. This competition really opened my eyes and made me realize that the lack of fashionable clothing for people with disabilities is a problem. This was definitely a humbling experience and makes me want to continue further with searching and creating more fashionable items for everyone to wear.”
Thank you to the following developers and judges!
Without their expertise and assistance, the Competition would not have been possible.
About AATCC: AATCC is the world’s leading not-for-profit association serving textile professionals since 1921. AATCC, headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC, USA, provides test method development, quality control materials, and professional networking for members in about 50 countries throughout the world.
About Runway of Dreams Foundation: Runway of Dreams Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works toward a future of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities. Through adaptive clothing donations and wardrobe grants, employment initiatives and modeling opportunities, adaptive design awareness campaigns and scholarships programs, the Runway of Dreams Foundation is empowering people with disabilities with opportunity, confidence, independence and style.