Filipina Wins Fur-Free Fashion Competition

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PITTSBURGH, PA — The Humane Society of the United States and The Art Institutes recently announced Filipina Johana Zara from The Art Institute of Vancouver as the grand prize winner of the seventh annual Cool vs. Cruel Fashion Design Competition.

“This means a lot to me as I just decided to focus on fashion design this year,” said Zara. “My passion for sketching and creating came out through this competition and winning makes me feel that design is the right route for me.” The Cool vs. Cruel Competition challenges Art Institutes students in fashion areas of study throughout the United States and in Vancouver to reinterpret and replace animal fur on runway looks by famous designers. This year’s finalists were selected from among more than 200 entries. “This program encourages fashion design students to make informed choices by educating them about the millions of foxes, raccoons and other animals who are killed every year for the fur trade,” said Michelle McDonald, fashion outreach manager of the fur-free campaign for The Humane Society of the United States.

As grand prize winner, Zara will receive an expense-paid, weeklong internship in New York City with fur-free designer Victoria Bartlett. Bartlett has judged the Cool vs. Cruel competition for the past two years and was the recipient of The HSUS’s 2010 Compassion in Fashion award. Zara earned the prize with her Fendi-inspired piece using long faux-fur, faux-suede and polyester chiffon. “I’m amazed by the creativity of these future designers,” Bartlett said. “I’m hoping that in the coming years, more designers will begin making compassionate choices and move away from the cruelty of fur.” Selecting the winners were designers John Bartlett, Victoria Bartlett, Marc Bouwer, Ally Chomer, Leanne Hilgart and Elizabeth Olsen; fashion photographer Nigel Barker; PAPER Magazine editor Mickey Boardman; and The Discerning Brute blog founder Joshua Katcher.

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