First Prize Winner - Cool vs Cruel Design Contest
First Prize Winner - Cool vs Cruel Design Contest

NEW YORK, Nov 6, 2008 / FW/ — When students are challenged to design without fur, it encourages budding designers to explore fur-free, animal-friendly fashion as a viable alternative. And, that is exactly the goal of the annual ‘Cool vs. Cruel’ fur-free design competition sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and the Art Institutes.

Now on its fourth year, the ‘Cool vs. Cruel’ design contest is open to students at The Art Institutes schools fashion programs.

For 2008, Gohar Rajabzadeh from Miami International University of Art & Design captured the grand prize with her faux fur coat. In place of what would have been animal fur, she used acrylic yarns to give the same luxurious look in a wrap coat with a full hood that frames the face.

Rajabzadeh will receive a trip to the Cool vs. Cruel awards ceremony and a five-day internship during New York Fashion Week with an acclaimed fur-free fashion designer.

Second place winner Tatiana Zaykovskaya from The Art Institute of California & San Diego will receive a $600 cash award. Third place winner Melinda Johnston from The Art Institute of Dallas will receive a $400 cash award.

The by-invitation-only awards ceremony to celebrate the student designers and their winning garments will be held in New York City on Wednesday, Nov.12 from 7-9 p.m. at the Bowery Hotel at 335 Bowery, and will be attended by many of the celebrity judges.

Gohar Rajabzadeh - First Prize Winner
Gohar Rajabzadeh - First Prize Winner

Celebrity judges and honorary committee members for this year’s competition include: Kate Bosworth, Ann-Dexter Jones, Brittany Murphy, Betsey Johnson, Benjamin Cho, Charlotte Ronson, The Donnas, Loden Dager, Maggie Rizer, Maroon 5, Milla Jovovich, Mickey Boardman, Monet Mazur, Nicky Hilton, Nigel Barker, Rain Phoenix, Samantha Ronson, Steven Klein, Suede and Victoria Bartlett.

The fifteen finalists’ garments will be on display at the Nov.12 awards ceremony. To view the entries, and learn more about the Cool vs. Cruel Competition visit: The Art Institutes or The HSUS’ Web sites.

The public can also vote for their favorite design at until Nov.11, with the winner being crowned “Cool vs. Cruel People’s Choice.”


Photos courtesy of The Art Institute