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Art Institute grad finalist in national competition
by Savannah Weeks
November 20, 2012 11:07 AM | 2811 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self <br>
Cool vs. Cruel national finalist Valencia White shows a few of her designs that helped her win a top spot in the competition.
Staff / Nathan Self
Cool vs. Cruel national finalist Valencia White shows a few of her designs that helped her win a top spot in the competition.
Valencia White entered a competition with vague guidelines: design a completely animal by-product-free garment based upon one of four designer frocks which sported fur.

White entered the Cool vs. Cruel fashion competition, sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and the Art Institutes, which have more than 45 campuses, including one in Sandy Springs.

“I chose the Jean-Paul Gaultier piece, which had a fur piece at the bottom of the dress,” said the 21-year-old Sandy Springs resident who graduated from the institute in September with a bachelor’s degree in fashion and retail management. “I took the color, electric blue, and did my own inspiration based on that.”

White said the dress is all polyester – lamé and tulle.

The student won the local competition, so she is entered into the national competition, among all art institute locations.

A society spokesperson said the intention of the contest was to teach fashion students about the cruelties of the fur industry.

“Through this competition, we have access to hundreds of fashion design students nationwide. This competition shows them that with so many great alternatives to fur, there’s absolutely no reason to still be using it,” said Michelle McDonald, fashion outreach manager of the Fur-Free Campaign.

“I learned from this competition that taking the fur off an animal’s back for fashion is not worth it. I never knew how many animals were dying for what we think is beauty and wealth,” said White.

White is one of 19 finalists. She said the national winner will be announced Monday.

The society awarded each finalist a $500 cash prize in addition to being entered into the national competition. The national grand-prize winner will receive an expenses-paid, weeklong internship in New York with a celebrated designer from the panel of judges, which includes designers John Bartlett, Victoria Bartlett, Anna Fortino, Leanne Hilgart, Nary Manivong and Elizabeth Olsen.

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