redsharkdigitalMay 6, 2019 AATCC Blog

Winners Announcement: 2019 “Fashion for All” Student Design Competition
By: Manisha Patel

AATCC is delighted to announce the winners of the 2019 AATCC and Runway of Dreams Foundation Fashion for All Student Design Competition!

The 2019 theme challenges students to design a prom look (male or female) that reimagines fashion and function for a person within the disability spectrum who has ONE of the below conditions:

  • non-ambulatory
  • limb difference
  • cognitive disability
  • ambulatory with fine motor challenges
  • dwarfism

Winners and Awards: See the Winning entries and meet the winners!

8 of the 24 entries qualified as finalists. Based on the quality and merit of each finalist’s entry, the Runway of Dreams Foundation will award scholarships and/or awards to the following entries:


First Place:

Runway of Dreams Foundation will award Wrapped in Roses by April Davenport from Oregon State University a $5,000 scholarship. The award will be presented at the Runway of Dreams Foundation Gala in September in NYC (with up to $1,000 travel and lodging stipend).

According to Davenport, completing this contest entry gave her knowledge that she would not have been able to easily get anywhere else. Through creating her contest poster, she learned how to better communicate design ideas through visual and verbal communication. By completing the final prototype, she learned what an extensive process it is to create a garment completely from scratch. She says, “This part of the contest was definitely the hardest for me, but I still found it immensely enjoyable because I knew that creating my design would help play a part in boosting the exposure of people with disabilities in the fashion industry.” Creating the finalist video taught Davenport a little bit about what goes into creating a professional video, and how important it is to be able to express one’s concept clearly and simply. Ultimately, this contest taught her what it would be like to be an adaptive apparel designer, and it reinforced her dream to do that as a career one day.

Davenport says “As an apparel design student with a disability, it is my dream to become an adaptive apparel designer. I want to be able to use my own experiences and challenges with clothing to help improve the lives of other people like me. As a contestant in the Runway of Dreams Competition, I leaned many valuable lessons that I will help me pursue my goal of becoming an adaptive apparel designer. One of the big takeaways I have from this contest is how important consumer research is. Going into this contest I had a good amount of knowledge from my personal experiences, but it was the hours of detailed consumer research about the adaptive market that effectively helped me craft my final design. This contest also taught me about the power clothing can have in people’s lives. Adaptive clothing has the power to change someone’s life, and the importance of that cannot be overstated.”


Second Place:

Runway of Dreams Foundation will award Royal Rose by Lauren Bouvier from University of Arkansas. She will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship for second place.

According to Bouvier, this competition was an incredible opportunity to turn a creative vision into a finished garment that benefited the needs of others. Bouvier says that she learned so much through each part of the process. In developing the design, she studied the adaptable clothing market and learned how to best fulfill the needs of women who are assisted by wheelchairs every day. To create the design, she learned CLO3D, a 3-dimensional design software, and improved her skills in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. For developing the garment, Bouvier learned how to drape and create pattern pieces while practicing new sewing techniques.

In her future career, Bouvier plans to work in the design area in the fashion industry. This competition has revealed an area of the market that is not currently well addressed, and developing fashionable and functional clothes for non-ambulatory women is something she hopes to contribute towards in the future. She says, “I believe every person should feel confident in what they wear, and I want to create clothing that encourages that empowerment.”


Third Place:

Runway of Dreams Foundation will award the entry Chrysalis Gown by Katherine Absher from North Carolina State University, Wilson College of Textiles a $1,000 scholarship.

Absher says she learned about designing with empathy for people whose needs are different from her own. She plans to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She says, “I think design in general is becoming more focused on the individual, so this competition was a great learning experience.”






Honorable Mentions

Runway of Dreams Foundation will present the following entries a certificate and congratulatory letter:

Dream Dress by MollyKate Cline from Columbus College of Art & Design.

Cline says, “This competition allowed me to learn more about adaptive design within the fashion industry and how to create garments for everybody. My favorite part was researching the chosen disability and coming up with creative solutions to fit the wearer’s needs. I enjoyed taking my idea from concept to design, and then rendering the final construction. This competition has been an amazing experience!”

Cline is working on building her own sustainable clothing company and researching new ways to teach people about sustainable fashion. While creating sustainable pieces or creating clothing for someone with a disability, product knowledge is very important to the consumer and this is something Cline plans to apply in any design situation.




Sialia by Sterling LeBlanc from Oklahoma State University                  

According to LeBlanc, this competition has made her more aware of things she takes for granted. She says, for example, “I don’t have to think about if my sleeves will let me reach up, because I don’t often have to reach higher than my head, but if you are in a wheelchair, you’ll often have to reach that high or higher.”

LeBlanc plans to go into either pattern making or technical design. Her design heavily relied on the shape of the design which derived from the pattern. This competition really allowed LeBlanc to come up with patterning solutions that she would have never tried before.





Sparkling Yourself by Uikyung Jung from North Carolina State University, Wilson College of Textiles.

Jung says that she learned about the process of apparel product development by considering specific consumer needs and functions while producing a garment. This was Jung’s first time researching not only about demographic segmentation but also the consumer’s need. Participating in the Fashion For All competition is one of the experiences that has stimulated her interest in garment fitting and anthropometrics.






Sunset Chic by Laurette Lisena from University of Delaware

From this competition, Lisena says that she has learned the specific details of constructing a garment. As a fashion merchandising major, this was new to her. She learned how to create a custom pattern in order to bring her design to life. She says, “For me, being able to incorporate adaptive features into my design was a really interesting task to figure out.”

As of now, Lisena is interested in exploring a career in buying, color analytics, or product development. She believes this competition helped her to push her skill set and create a completely new garment. She also says, “I am grateful that I was able to learn about pattern making and adaptive features, as it is important knowledge for anyone working in the fashion industry.”





Unbound Elegance by Chance Zacheis from the University of Missouri

From participating in this competition, Zacheis says she learned the importance of implementing user-centered design in the apparel designing process, especially for unique target consumers who, traditionally, have been neglected by the industry. She also experienced the challenges of working in adaptive features of clothing in order to address specific needs, which has helped her grow as a designer and problem solver.

She says, “I hope to utilize my degree and minors in business and entrepreneurship to open my own apparel store in the future that implements functional design with on trend styles. This competition has widened the window through which I perceive the design process, as well as giving me valuable insight into the lives of a large base of individuals through my research on people living with disabilities.”


Thank you to the following developers and judges!

Without their expertise and assistance, the Competition would not have been possible.


  • Mindy Scheier, Founder and CEO, Runway of Dreams Foundation
  • Rebecca Baeurle, Executive Director, Runway of Dreams Foundation
  • Kerry King, Vice President, R&D at Spoonflower, Inc.
  • Martha Carper, Retired, Dupont Company




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.

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