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Drexel Student Wins Grand Prize in International Fashion Competition

November 2, 2009

Drexel Student Wins Grand Prize in International Fashion Competition
A Drexel University fashion student has won the grand prize at the Arts of Fashion Symposium and Competition for the second time in four years, which concluded on October 28, with a fashion show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Milka Osoro, a third year graduate student at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, won the top prize awarded—a year’s tuition to study at Paris’s Les Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale de la Mode, the top couture design school run by the French government, which includes all the top French design houses as members.

The theme of this year’s competition was illusion. Osoro looked to numerous influences in architectural structures including Zaha Hadid and Alvaro Siza for inspiration. “I wanted to explore the idea of creating illusion by using hues from the color wheel and creating secondary and complementary colors,” said Osoro. Her designs aimed to allow the body to be a part of the garment by utilizing negative and positive spaces such as how unique cutouts emphasize the body. It took several months to finalize the color changes and create a perfect fit for the models.

Osoro was one of 50 students from more than 20 countries to submit garments in the annual competition. Each student prepared sketches for two garments that were judged by a panel of fashion experts and professors during the semifinals held in Los Angeles in May 2009. Osoro spent the last month working 12-to-14-hour days in Drexel’s fashion studios completing her designs. Westphal College fashion professors Renee Weiss-Chase and Lisa Hayes advised Osoro on her garments.

“This whole experience has been unreal,” said Osoro. “It still hasn’t quite hit me, but I can imagine the different opportunities it will give me in the future. It encourages me to continue to follow my dreams and never stop being passionate.”

For five days Drexel‘s campus was transformed into a veritable fashion epicenter as lectures, exhibition, showrooms and master classes were held throughout the main campus. Designers like Anthony Vaccarello who worked under Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi and Mathew Ames, Christian Wijnants and Aurore Thibout, who were just back from debuting their spring/summer collections at Paris Fashion Week, were among many emerging designers to teach master classes, lecture and exhibit work during the event. Master classes were taught on themes of women’s dresses made from handbags and accessories, trench coats transformed into couture dresses and flat clothes and textiles reworked to create garments with an illusion of depth.

In 2005, Drexel fashion student Megan Stein became the first American to win this top honor. Additionally, Drexel fashion student Jaeyoon Yeong won the Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Award and recently opened his own boutique, carrying his collection in New York City.

More about the Westphal College and its Departments: The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers 13 undergraduate and five graduate programs in design, media and the performing arts.

The undergraduate and graduate Fashion Design programs are nationally recognized. The rigorous curriculum consists of a unique six-month co-op experience that complements coursework in conceptual design, presentation skills, CAD, and manufacturing procedures. Students conclude their senior year with the presentation of their collections in the Drexel Fashion Show, an impressive event featuring professional models that attracts an audience of 1500.

The Design & Merchandising program prepares students for the challenges of the businesses of design. Students learn to create and merchandise fashion and design products, and also obtain practical knowledge in the areas of marketing, promotion, production and distribution. Each year students create D&M, a four-color glossy magazine that rivals professionally produced publications. Students also produce the annual Drexel Fashion Show.

Arts of Fashion Foundation: The Arts of Fashion Foundation, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, is directed by Nathalie Doucet, former Paris based fashion designer and US professor. It links academics and professionals and is dedicated to fostering an international cultural exchange. Through the creation of a variety of educational events it facilitates critical thinking among artists, designers, scholars and students. The primary focus of the foundation is the continuous support of creativity and design in fashion and the arts. The debates and seminars such as the Tandem and Series, the exhibitions of young rising talents such as the CarteBlanche and Debut Series and the International Arts of Fashion Student Competition, Masterclass Series and Summer programs are all vehicles of promoting avant-garde and progressive cultural movements.


News Media Contacts:

Zeek Weil, director of communications and events, Westphal College 215-895-2629 or

Niki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741,

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