The Accessories Council and FIT presented their Next Generation Awards for graduating students, determined by judges from sponsors and leaders in the fashion, accessory and jewelry industries.
How it works: Each sponsor company contributes financially, underwriting a 1st and 2nd place prize for the students (it’s a prize, not a scholarship, as students are graduating, although many receive a bonus of being hired right into the industry).
This year’s benefactors include Kara Ross (fine jewelry), Miriam Haskell (costume jewelry), The Jones Group (footwear), Riviera (millinery) and Collection XIIX (portfolio). Botkier is also participating this year, both as a benefactor for the handbag category and with Monica Botkier joining as a judge.
“FIT’s accessories program, and FIT in general, is amazing. The projects just keep getting better,” says Karen Giberson, president of The Accessories Council. “We’re excited that we can adapt and change the competition to fit. We added fine jewelry the year before last and this year we added the “portfolio” category, where judges got to view a student’s entire presentation across classifications, including sketches. “It was so successful we added a runner up for 2nd prize,” says Giberson.
One of the highlights of the event is putting student work in front of industry professionals. “The sponsor companies keep coming back to hire winners,” says Giberson.
First and second-place winners and their respective vendor sponsors are as follows:
Portfolio: 1) Patricia O’Neill 2) Kirsten Voell and Dana DeMartino COLLECTION XIIX
Handbags: 1) Ah-Young Kwak 2) Rachel Policastro BOTKIER
Fine Jewelry: 1) Melissa Kaye 2) Cole Lopez KARA ROSS
Costume Jewelry: 1) Dana Bodourov 2) Cole Lopez HASKELL JEWELS
Footwear: 1) Sun Jeong Kang 2) Joseph Pacheco NINE WEST
Millinery: 1) Keenan Julies 2) Jorge Rosario RIVIERA