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Finalists Announced in Nationwide Fashion Design Contest

Fur-Free Competition Sponsored by The HSUS in Collaboration with The Art Institutes

The Humane Society of the United States

Sixteen students will compete in The Humane Society of the United States' fifth annual Cool vs. Cruel Fashion Design Competition. Cool vs. Cruel challenges students enrolled in The Art Institutes' Fashion Design programs throughout North America to improve a runway look by Burberry, Thakoon, Michael Kors or Alexander McQueen, by finding creative ways to replace and reinterpret the use of animal fur.

The local finalists were selected from more than 100 entries to compete for the top prize nationally. Their entries will be judged by a panel of fashion industry judges including designers Marc Bouwer, Charlotte Ronson, Victoria Bartlett, Nick Friedberg and Elizabeth Olsen; magazine editors Dana Wood, Mickey Boardman and Shelly Vella; and renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker. The grand-prize winner will receive a trip to New York City for the award presentation on Nov. 11, as well as an expense-paid, weeklong internship during New York Fashion Week with celebrated fur-free designer Victoria Bartlett.

"This contest allows future professional designers to show major designers like Michael Kors or Alexander McQueen that not only is fur unnecessary, but that there are more creative and aesthetically pleasing design options on the table for those with an innovative eye and a compassionate fashion philosophy," said Sarika Reuben, deputy manager of The HSUS' fur-free campaign.

The finalists are:

  • Gilberto Alvarez – The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale – His design was inspired by the bright color used in the Thakoon design; the metal rings, straps, and choice of vinyl in the garment were inspired by the Alexander McQueen design; and the Michael Kors design inspired length of the hem.
  • Ingrid Bergstrom-Kendrick – The Art Institute of Vancouver - Designed a fitted double-layered felt dress, mid-thigh length with seam detailing and cap sleeves, inspired by an Alexander McQueen design.
  • Bryce Black – The Art Institute of Portland – Black's design featured a primary material of post-consumer denim jeans and denim scrap.  He added zippers, elastic and fabric paint.
  • Kelly Brinn – The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago - Brinn designed an avante garde pleather suit with a reversible faux fur and pleather vest, embellished with a studded snake on the sleeve and leg of the pant.
  • Dallas Coulter – The Art Institute of California – San Francisco - Designed a floor-length, gold satin gown with black lace overlay; plunging front and back necklines; a black faux-fur shrug with jet Austrian crystal embellishment; and black beaded appliqué with jet Austrian crystals at the center front.
  • Cathy Damm – The Art Institute of California – Hollywood – Damm used the original cut strips and pulled out thread until the pieces only had a side seam. She designed an animal-like texture with incredible flow.
  • Marisela Frias San Miquel – The Art Institute of Tuscon - The shirt is a sleeveless black poly-satin princess-line garment with stand collar and exposed zipper. She added the front closing vest made from royal blue poly-satin strips trimmed with black nylon lace and joined together with titanium-welded rings. The skirt is black poly-satin underskirt with black soft eco-friendly yarn made to look like Persian lamb and a royal blue satin waistband.
  • Alyssa Garcia – The Art Institute of California-Orange County – Garcia's design was reminiscent of a tuxedo with a sleek, wide leg, button-down front and a belt that ties with a bow in the back.
  • Patrice Goodluck – The Art Institute of New York City – Goodluck designed a 1950s inspired halter-style body suit with a retro-fit. The base fabric is dark wash, 100 percent cotton denim, with hand-sewn bronze zipper trimming constructed in a pattern to create texture. 
  • Jeremy Hunt – The Art Institute of Indianapolis – Hunt's design was inspired by a dress that had fur shoulders. Instead of fur, Hunt used draping to create the texture and volume of piled fur. This manipulation created the same desire to touch and explore the garment as fur without the animal cruelty.
  • Beatriz Lopez - Miami International University of Art & Design – Designed a 63-piece faux-fur, zebra-print coat assembled from polyester baby blankets.
  • Cindy Marlatt – The Art Institute of Seattle – Designed a three-piece outfit consisting of a jacket with faux-fur cuffs, decorative metal trim, a detachable faux-fur collar and a dress with matching faux-fur trim.
  • Christine Porter – The Art Institute of Dallas – Designed a silver polyester taffeta dress lined in polyester, with princess panels and the quilting technique of tripunto, a shaggy maroon and grey yarn skirt, with fringe across chest and back and extra large maroon hook-n-eyes to the clasp the garment shut. 
  • Joe Sarfo – The Art Institute of Philadelphia - Designed a garment that is visually stimulating in its silhouette choice and balance in soft and hard textures.
  • Maykou Thao – The Art Institute of Charlotte – Designed a navy satin bodice with dark grape-colored sleeves. The sleeves were hand-constructed with acrylic yarns, which were substituted for fur. The black leggings are made of knit bordre.
  • Tatiana Zaykovskaya – The Art Institute of California – San Diego - The dress highlights a palette of pure cream satin and white vinyl trim, coupled with the epaulettes made of synthetic hair and clear glass jewels sewn on by hand.

Learn more at humanesociety.org/coolvscruel or artinstitutes.edu/coolvcruel.


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

The Art Institutes (artinstitutes.edu) is a system of over 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

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