As if I don’t have enough respect for the Humane Society and all that they do to help animals, turns out that for 8 years, together with the Art Institutes system of schools, they’ve been running a cruelty-free fashion competition!! Aptly called the Cool vs. Cruel Fashion Design Competition, Art Institute students throughout the country and Canada are challenged to reinterpret a runway look that uses fur by replacing it with cruelty-free alternatives. What an awesome way to bring awareness to the up and coming future designers out there!
Sad that it took this long for such awesome news to reach me, but needless to say, when I found out that I got an invite to the reception held on June 26th, honoring the winner AND it was being held only blocks away from my office at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, how could I say no?
Upon entering the room, it was hard not to be drawn to the panel of live models displaying the top designs from the competition. As my date for the event, vegan model and blogger Emily Nolan of My Kind of Life informed me, it is not an easy job to stand still like that for so long and smile!! But the models looked great and made it look so easy!
This year’s grand prize winner Nicholle Bajgrowicz was chosen by a pretty awesome panel of judges, including the likes of Elizabeth Olsen (genius behind OlsenHaus shoes), Leanne Maily-Hilgart of Vaute Couture, Joshua Katcher (the Discerning Brute) and fellow vegan NYCer, writer/reporter Nell Alk, just to name a few.
Scattered throughout the room on mannequins were other various design entries that were also in the running for the prize. It was pretty awesome to get to see them and feel them up close.
The reception featured vegan-only treats, including cupcakes, a specially prepared menu by the venue of passed hors d’oeuvres, live music and get this – a local NYC barista/coffee portrait artist from the Little Fox Cafe on the lower east side of Manhattan. You may be wondering what the heck a coffee portrait artist is… he literally could draw a replica of a face in the foam of your coffee drink even from a photograph. Though it was admittedly more difficult for him, he was using only soy milk that night in honor of the theme of the party!
Well, the HSUS certainly knows how to throw a party! And congrats to Nicholle – excited to see what’s next for her in the cruelty free fashion arena and looking forward to attending this event again next year!
To learn more about this event and the competition, click here.