November 12, 2009
2009 Cool vs. Cruel Awards Feature Styles and Smiles
A win for everyone, especially furbearing animals
Ingrid Bergstrom-Kendrick could have been walking on air.
After weeks spent crafting a dress to capture the volume of animal fur through layered gray polyester felt, The Art Institute of Vancouver student was presented as the fifth annual Cool vs. Cruel Fur-Free Fashion Design Competition's grand prize winner Wednesday night.
And with about 600 people attending the red-carpet awards ceremony at New York City's trendy Bowery Hotel, Bergstrom-Kendrick couldn't stop smiling as she discussed her design with anyone who asked, posed for pictures, and networked with some of the industry professionals in attendance.
"I feel like it's all going to seem like a dream when I get back to Vancouver," said Bergstrom-Kendrick, who is originally from Sweden. "These are people you see in magazines, not in everyday life."
Celebrating Animal-Friendly Style
She and other students took center stage Wednesday, illustrating that another generation is learning from programs like The HSUS's Cool vs. Cruel contest that encourage animal-friendly fashion. "They will be well prepared to educate their peers and the public on the alternatives to using fur in fashion," said Bruce E. Dempsey, vice president and academic affairs specialist for The Art Institutes. This year's contest attracted approximately 120 submissions from the Art Institutes' 40 North American schools, he said, producing 16 national finalist entries displayed prominently on life-sized mannequins.
Bergstrom-Kendrick won her expenses-paid trip to New York City for the ceremony as well as a five-day internship with fur-free designer Victoria Bartlett. Jeremy Hunt from The Art Institute of Indianapolis finished second to win a $600 cash prize, and Gilberto Alvarez of The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale took home $400 for placing third.
This year's grand prize winner also received a bag donated by Matt and Nat and vegan heels donated by Olsenhaus. Attendees took home organic cotton reusable tote bags emblazoned with The HSUS's "no-fur" heart image and filled with gifts, including lipstick from Urban Decay.
"Each year, we get items that are really top drawer. I think they're just getting better and better." HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle said. "There's no sacrifice here: we can have great style and still be great to animals."
Additionally, designer Charlotte Ronson—who chose to go fur-free after attending this event two years ago—and Paper magazine editorial director Mickey Boardman were presented with Compassion in Fashion awards for their longstanding support.
"If you get the kids," Boardman said, "they can sort of spread the news."
Andy MacAlpine is associate editor for publications at The Humane Society of the United States.