Local designer goes fur free in national contest

Design by Evelyn Thompson, The Art Institute of Charleston (Courtesy: Cool vs Cruel)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A local designer has been chosen as a finalist for a nationwide, cruelty-free fashion design competition.

The Humane Society's "Cool vs. Cruel" contest challenged up-and-comers in the fashion world to design clothing that doesn't use fur or leather. This year's contest took it a step further by forbidding faux fur as well.

More than 20 Art Institute students were chosen as finalists, including Evelyn Thompson from the Charleston branch.

{}"This competition gives us the opportunity to educate the next generation of fashion designers on the cruel and unnecessary use of fur while encouraging them to be innovative and explore new techniques and alternatives," said Michelle McDonald, fashion outreach manager for The HSUS.

Fashion students were asked to recreate runway designs by Diane von Furstenberg, Tom Ford, Derek Lam or Moncler, replacing the animal fur with something else.

"The Cool vs. Cruel Fashion Design Competition offers our students a wonderful opportunity to show their creativity and to learn about an important issue in the fashion industry," said Todd Cunningham, president of The Art Institute of Charleston.

Each finalist is awarded a cash prize and entry into the national competition.

The national grand-prize winner will be awarded a cash prize and an expense-paid, week-long internship in New York City with one of the designers from the panel of judges.

The judges' panel consists of professionals from the fashion industry, including designers Carmen Artigas, John Bartlett, Victoria Bartlett, Leanne Hilgart, Kimberly Ovitz, designer and founder of OlsenHaus Elizabeth Olsen, PAPER magazine editor Mickey Boardman, founder and president of Donna Salyers' Fabulous Furs Donna Salyers, writer and editor Nell Alk and designer and founder of Brave GentleMan Joshua Katcher.