Stephens sophomore Britta Bell is competing this semester in the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Teen Vogue Scholarship Program.
The invite-only contest challenges student designers to come up with a collection worthy of the runway but at the department store prices found at Target.
For her line, Bell selected designer Tom Ford as her inspiration.
“He’s a pretty fantastic designer—sophisticated, classy, iconic, but also minimalistic,” she said.
A jury of faculty and professionals selected Bell’s designs this fall to compete in the international scholarship completion. The designs—including dresses, trousers and jackets—as well as swatches of her proposed fabrics, have since been submitted to contest judges. CFDA is expected to announce the results this spring.
Designing with someone else’s style in mind was beneficial because it required her to step out of her comfort zone, Bell said.
“I learned a lot designing through someone else’s lens,” she said.
Bell described her creations as sophisticated, but edgy; forward-thinking but timeless.
This is the first year Stephens has participated in CFDA competitions.
“It’s a small group of invited schools, and because we’re a part of that means we’re in an international spotlight,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion & Design. “We’re able to compete with the very best schools, making our work more intensive.”
In addition to the CFDA/Teen Vogue contest, students have had the chance to create designs for three additional competitions, all worth $25,000 in scholarship funding. Those contests will be held this spring.
Bell, 23, realized she wanted to design fashion after taking a break from college, where she originally wanted to pursue a creative writing degree. To make extra money, she began designing purses.
Through that circuit, she found a passion for fashion.
She discovered Stephens through relatives living in the area. She’s been able to develop her creative and technical skills since.
“Every step of this process has been surprising,” she said. “Since I’ve started at Stephens, it’s been full of surprises. I’ve learned more in two years than I’ve ever learned.”
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