Fashion Students Win Top Prizes at International Design Competition
The winning designs on display
Jana Yee's design
Kenzi Klein's design
School of Fashion student Jana Yee won Grand Prize in the designext student competition, which
includes a $1,000 cash prize. Fellow Fashion student Kenzi Klein was also a top designext
The designext competition gives students around the world an opportunity to get their work in
front of buyers and industry professionals. Surtex, the host of the competition, holds an annual
market for selling and licensing art and design. Hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of buyers
come to display and view the most cutting-edge designs and artwork.
Both Jana and Kenzi won a trip to New York to present their collections to judges at the Surtex
show. The whirlwind experience included exhibiting in their own tradeshow booth.
Previously, Jana worked at a consulting firm, but dreamed of working in a creative field. That
passion emboldened her to enroll at the Academy. She learned about the designext competition
through instructor, Jennifer Jeon.
Jana has found her textile instructors inspiring, particularly Jeon. "She has really encouraged
me and given me the confidence to stick with it. And without her I wouldn't have even entered the
designext competition!" Jana said.
Jana's grand-prize-winning submission, Vitality Blooms, references the colors of the sunrise and
the optimism of Art Nouveau designs. She impressed judges with her professionalism, which they
noted was "beyond her years of experience."
Jana feels the training and encouragement she received at the Academy was vital in achieving her
success. "The most important thing I have learned is that you just have to jump," she said. "If you
work hard and believe in yourself you can do it."
Fashion student Kenzi was inspired to study textile design by her love of clothing fabric and
prints. The colors and shapes of deep sea creatures influenced her winning collection, Chambered
The skills of the young designers landed them both freelance projects. Kenzi returned from a
conference to find that the owner of a Belgian company wanted her to create a collection for them.
"We sat down and they picked out some swatches, and we talked details and – Bam! First freelance
job," she said of the experience.
The young designers believe that their time at the Academy helped them to achieve this success
and start them on the path a successful career in design. "The Academy gives us really good
opportunities with different companies and competitions," Kenzi said.