NEW YORK — Crystal balls may give fortune tellers and gypsies a glimpse of tomorrow, but for DuPont, young, budding fashion designers offer the look into legwear’s future.

That’s why the fiber maker hosted its first North American hosiery design contest during the spring legwear market earlier this month.

The event — dubbed "Tomorrow’s Designs Today" — was held at Daylight Studios on West 31st Street in Manhattan, where DuPont showcased the hosiery concepts of 31 semifinalists and four finalists. It was co-hosted by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who plays Meadow on HBO’s "The Sopranos."

"This was an opportunity to get into the minds of the youthful consumer to find out what they want from legwear," said Sheila Robinson, marketing communications manager at DuPont.

Some 400 students entered the contest from schools such as the California Design College, the Fashion Institute of Technology,Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Parsons School of Design and Philadelphia University. Designers from Escada, House of Fields and Yeohlee, and editors from Footwear News, Lucky, Seventeen and Vogue judged the designs.

Bill Amadio, North America legwear manager said: "Because of the innovations in the apparel world such as Lycra and Tactel, current and future hosiery designers have unlimited access to the fibers and fabrics that can make their designs modern, stylish and practical at the same time."

As reported, the legwear division is now part of DuPont Textiles & Interiors. Earlier this year, DuPont unveiled an ambitious plan to strengthen its hosiery and legwear business on a global scale with some new concepts, including this contest for which DuPont Lycra and Tactel provided yarns to manufacturers to produce the finalists’ hosiery designs. Among the brands volunteering to manufacture designs were Givenchy, Hue, Levante, Spanx and Wolford.

Paul Fan, who moved here from China five years ago and recently graduated from the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, took home the winning trophy and a check for $1,000.

"I have a lot of passion for fashion and design," said Fan, who prior to coming to the U.S., worked in China for a company that specializes in embroidery.

His winning design mixes a slew of geometric patterns and was realized by Wolford."My inspiration was from native tattoos of small Pacific Islands," he said. "I spent a whole month researching in the library and bookstores."

Second place went to Kenndra L. Lopez, a student in fashion merchandising and marketing at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise in Los Angeles. Her design mimicked blue jeans and was created by Canadian brand Silks.

Lakshmi Golpalkrishnan, a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise in San Francisco, took home third place with a design inspired by Madhubani paintings of northern India, using red and black parrot and flowering creeper motifs, which symbolize prosperity and good luck. The design was also created by Silks.

"These students have recognized that legwear is fun, fashionable and functional at the same time," said Robinson. "Let’s celebrate legwear as a fashion accessory."

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