The offer was extended to J.R. Campbell, director of Kent Stateâ€™s Fashion School, while he was in Seoul, Korea, in November for the 2010 International Fashion Art Biennale. Campbell was there representing Kent State as one of only four Americans invited there to speak. Additionally, Campbell and Vincent Quevedo, Kent State associate professor of fashion design, had submitted a piece titled â€œDMZâ€ and were collaboratively awarded the â€œInternational Artist of the Yearâ€ award for their innovative design.
It was in Seoul that Campbell met Aluna-Yue Lu, dean of the fashion department of China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Each year, CAFA has the opportunity to partner with one international school during China Fashion Week. Lu invited Campbell to bring students from Kent Stateâ€™s Fashion School to partner with CAFA. The all-expenses paid invitation is sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Government.
Kent State design students returned from winter break to learn of this competition of sorts. Open to all 49 senior design students, the judging process began less than one month after returning from winter break. All 49 designers were required to have two pieces from their collection completed and ready to present to the committee. The students were critiqued by Campbell and fellow fashion faculty Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, Noel Palomo-Lovinski, Sherry Schofield-Tomschin and Paula Dancie. Finalists were chosen based on the quality and aesthetic of their designs. In addition, all 49 students were asked to elect their top five favorite senior collections. Out of the 49 competing senior design majors, the group was whittled down to 13 semi-finalists in one day. Those 13 then continued on to one-on-one interviews with the committee. Ultimately, the seven finalists were selected.
â€œThe seven students are now feverishly finishing their four-piece collections in time for our trip,â€ said Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, one of the three faculty members accompanying these students to Beijing. â€œThis truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them. This event could catapult their careers overnight.â€
The seven finalists are Bethany Clark, Abigail Drake, Zachary Hoh, Vanecia Kirkland, Staci Moening, Caitlin Nugent and Samantha Woodard. Campbell, along with faculty members Ohrn-McDaniel and Schofield-Tomschin, are accompanying the students to Beijing where they will stay for seven days.
For more information on Kent State's School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, visit www.fashionschool.kent.edu.
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