NEW YORK — Wellman Inc., which for two years has sponsored a student design competition during the spring edition of the 7th on Sixth Fashion shows here, is trying something new for the New York collections to be held at Bryant Park starting in late March. And a host of designers are set to participate.
The fiber producer, in conjunction with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is sponsoring what it is calling a Master/Apprentice Program and Student Show. The program will team a CFDA designer with a student from one of five textile/fashion colleges.
The designer and the assigned student will each design and produce a garment made from fabrics using Wellman’s EcoSpun recycled polyester. The designer will choose the fabric and the end product may be in women’s, men’s or children’s wear. The designer’s and student’s garments will be presented side-by-side on the runway.
More than 25 designers will be participating in the program, according to Wellman. The list includes Joseph Abboud, Carey Adina, Carolina Amato, Matthew Batanian, Barry Bricken, David Chu of Nautica, Stephen DiGeronimo, Mark Eisen, Alfred Fiandaca, Robert Massimo Freda, Eric Gaskins, Nicholas Graham of Joe Boxer, Stan Herman, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, Wini Jones of Roffe, Byron Lars, Nicole Miller, Josie Natori, Tom and Linda Platt, Kenneth Richard, Cynthia Rowley, Cynthia Steffe, Anna Sui, Rodney Telford and Adrienne Vittadini. Also listed by Wellman was Bradley Bayou, but he could not be reached for confirmation.
The five participating colleges are Fashion Institute of Technology, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, Pratt Institute, New York Parsons School of Design and Otis College in Los Angeles.
The former Wellman program, Designers of the Future, featured designs from students at FIT and Philadelphia College.
Wellman said the designers will be advised of their student apprentice about a month in advance of the planned visit. The students will visit the designers’ headquarters on a predetermined schedule, and the schools or individual students will absorb their housing and accommodation expenses.
The students, who will be chosen by faculty review committees at each school, will be matched to the designers based on their field of concentration and the designer’s expertise or interest.
As part of its commitment, Wellman said it will make an as-yet-undetermined contribution to the CFDA Scholarship Fund, earmarked for the participating schools.

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