Byline: Kristin Larson

NEW YORK — Young fashion designers today should keep in mind they are not just designing apparel — they are helping to “design America.”
That strong message was sent from one of the most influential people in the fashion industry Tuesday night, as Parsons School of Design honored Sidney Kimmel, chairman and chief executive officer of Jones Apparel Group.
Kimmel delivered his inspirational message to students at the school’s annual fashion benefit and awards presentation held at the Marriott Marquis.
“Design with abandon…don’t be limited by time, by the constraints of systems, but be energized by the limitlessness of your opportunities to do good, to make this city and this world better,” Kimmel told a packed audience of about 900 industry leaders.
Kimmel, who founded the powerhouse Jones Apparel Group in 1970, was recognized for his leadership in the fashion retail industry and his philanthropic efforts — namely in cancer research, the arts and education. At 74, Kimmel has contributed some $200 million to medical research, $5 million to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and additional millions to other institutions and charities — such as $30 million to build the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in his home town Philadelphia.
Gene Kahn, president and ceo of May Department Stores, said he can think of no better person to receive the award than Kimmel.
“Sidney has infused his entire company with a strong commitment to design and it has become one of the preeminent fashion houses — it’s a dynamic collection of brands,” Kahn said. “His interests, however, go far beyond the fashion industry. People choose to make a difference and in so many endeavors, Sidney has chosen to make a difference.”
The benefit raised about $1.8 million to benefit the school’s scholarship and academic programs.
But perhaps what everyone was waiting for was the announcement of the student winners, each of which were judged by a jury of more than 250. Designer of the Year was awarded to Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, while Gold Thimble awards were given to Susana DeCangas, Kyongah Kay Chong, Salvador Trinidad, Shauna Ericson, Alice Lo and Alexa Adams, as well as Hernandez and McCollough.
In addition, Memorial Gold Thimbles were given to students whose work received the most votes from the jury. They included Julia Patkos, Vanessa Mueller, Saida Mouradova, Ji Eun Kim and Suwa Im.

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