Fashion Design students Sumin An and Blake Dewitt have won a prestigious contest by luxury Italian brand Loro Piana, which comes with a scholarship and an employment contract with the fashion house.
The contest, now in its seventh year, invited teams from seven global design schools to develop a creative idea using Loro Piana’s yarns, with a focus on reuse, recycling, and sustainability — in line with this year’s theme, “Regenerate.” Students were asked to incorporate at least one garment from an already-existing collection into their project by redesigning, reknitting, or using the materials in an innovative way. They were also able to create up to 20 textile designs with Loro Piana yarns. The brand’s well-known yarns include cashmere 2/27, Coarsehair, Wish, Supercashmere, and Royal.
The goal of this initiative, according to the fashion house, is to share its institutional knowledge of the craft with a younger generation of designers “while facilitating their entrance into the job market.”
As part of the contest, participants flew to Italy to learn about the entire production process, tour the maison’s wool mill, and work closely with the research and development team to put their designs into being.
An and Dewitt reimagined a chair they found on the street, incorporating tube yarns into it as a new seat and an existing Loro Piana sweater into the back, “literally turning something discarded into something of luxury,” says Assistant Professor Tom Scott, who was their mentor in the project.
The seven teams presented their work April 6 at Loro Piana’s Milan headquarters. An and Dewitt’s entry was chosen by an expert jury that included CEO Damien Bertrand; Sara Sozzani Maino, the creative director of Fondazione Sozzani and an advisor for Vogue Italia; Jordan Anderson, editor at large of NSS Magazine; brand strategist Andrea Batilla, and fashion and lifestyle journalist Giuliana Matarrese.
They will now have the opportunity to create their garments in Loro Piana’s Piedmont workshop, under the guidance of experienced artisans. The works will be displayed June 28–30 at the Pitti Filati in Florence—a leading trade event for yarns.
The Fashion Institute of Technology was the only American school represented in the contest, which also included teams from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Università IUAV di Venezia, and Institut Français de la Mode.