By  on August 18, 2008

Maurices will sell the winning design from its Project Handbag contest at all of its stores beginning Sept. 8.

With an eye for what’s classic and practical, Christina Oertel, a 27-year-old graphic designer and mother of two from Plover, Wis., won the contest staged by Maurices and

“Christina’s design is fun, stylish and practical, and has a twentysomething attitude that perfectly represents the Maurices brand,” said Lisa Rhodes, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of the Duluth, Minn.-based specialty chain catering to trendy girls in small towns.

The contest started in January, when aspiring designers and customers submitted handbag sketches. Of the 243 submissions, FashionIndie narrowed the field to 10 possible winners, and 16,000 votes cast on line determined three finalists. A panel of fashion experts selected Oertel as the grand-prize winner in May.

The winning “bag takes a somewhat classic style and enhances it with layering and great detailing,” Oertel said. “The silver and wood accents play off each other, and because the outside is sophisticated and structured, I added bright fabric to the inside to make it more fun.”

A tag on the bag indicates it was designed just for Maurices by Oertel. Aside from the recognition, she also won a $500 Maurices shopping spree.

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