New York-based LIM College announced the winners of its Cotton Climate Challenge Competition, and the commemorative event, as one might guess, was held entirely online. The competition was held during LIM College’s first “Virtual Sustainability Expo” on April 27 and 28.
The event featured students presenting concepts for sustainable cotton-based, fashion-related, and climate-positive businesses that would “reduce fashion’s negative environmental and social impacts and help reverse climate change,” LIM College said. Students who developed the top three concepts were awarded prize scholarships.
The student award for first place, with a reward of $1,000, went to “The Three Farm,” a vertical indoor farm that allows for year-round cotton farming and reduces weather risks, by Alexa Geller, Maheen Nisar and Skylar Roa. The “Water Gauge” project came in second place, with an award of $750, which introduced water-saving crop sensors controllable via app, by Jillian Jacobson; and third place, for $600, went to the “Eco Brush,” a recycled cotton cosmetic brush concept, by Cindy Demian, Leticia Hsieh and Natalie Misetic.
LIM College president Elizabeth S. Marcuse said, “Even though we were not able to hold our Sustainability Expo on campus, as originally planned, we found an innovative way to provide students with real-life professional experience in a virtual setting.”
“This is the fifth time we have received an educational grant from Cotton Incorporated, and we are extremely grateful for their continued support. This project allowed our students to apply the skills they learn in class to help move the fashion world forward,” Marcuse added.
More than 200 students from LIM College’s “Sustainability and the Future of Fashion” course participated in semester-long projects focused solely on cotton. The task was to research “almost everything” related to cotton, LIM College explained, including seeds, soil, water, spinning, textile construction, dyeing, marketing and recycling.
And the students’ challenge was rooted in finding tenable sustainability solutions, inclusive of increasing cotton usage, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and continuing to reduce impacts of existing agricultural, design, production, business, and consumer-use models, while helping to reverse anthropogenic climate change, LIM College said.
A panel of industry experts provided real-time feedback as the students presented their work. The judges included Amy Hall, vice president, social consciousness, Eileen Fisher; Kathleen Kirkwood, founder, B.R.A. Bra Recycling Agency; Mark Messura, senior vice president, Global Supply Chain Marketing, Cotton Incorporated; Laurie Rando, a cotton importer, Samantha Sims, vice president, Environmental Sustainability & Product Stewardship, PVH Corp., and Marc Yaggi, executive director, Waterkeeper Alliance.
Mark Messura, senior vice president of Global Supply Chain Marketing at Cotton Incorporated, said cotton “is the world’s number-one natural fiber—straight from the earth in a form that is ready to use. Naturally biodegradable, renewable and able to be transformed into hundreds of products from apparel to home textiles to medical materials.”
Messura added, “Combine cotton’s natural versatility with the creativity of LIM students, and we have an awesome synergy of ideas for how cotton can be used.”
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