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Fashion Students Win Top Prizes at International Design Competition

The winning designs on display
Surtex - Jana Yee
Jana Yee's design
Surtex - Kenzi Klein
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 winner.

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 Nautilus.

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.



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