Marist student wins national scholarship competition
A 2016 Hopkinton High School graduate has won a prestigious fashion award for her creation of a signature collection focused on sustainability and environmental friendliness.
Isabel Holden, a fashion design major at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, was chosen as the 2019 winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Liz Claiborne Design Scholarship.
Holden was one of five students from Marist selected to apply for the scholarship, which asks students to create a signature fashion collection that supports the Claiborne brand and also includes an element of sustainable design innovation.
Established in 2009, the $25,000 scholarship is given to a student from one of the top 20 fashion design schools in the United States. Holden was chosen after she presented her collection and business plan to a panel of judges in New York City in April.
When informed the she was the winner, Holden said her first reaction was “shock.”
“I was the first student from Marist to ever win the award, so it was really amazing,” she said.
Holden’s award-winning collection of 12 looks was inspired by the sustainability component of the competition.
“Liz Claiborne paved the way for women in the workplace with her designs, but she also cared very much about the environment,” Holden said.
To make her project more of a collaborative effort with her fellow Marist students, Holden enlisted the help of students in the chemistry department.
“We found a way to extract the indigo dye from scraps of denim that would have otherwise ended up in landfills,” she said. “That dye could then be used in a dye bath to re-dye white denim.”
Solids from the process were filtered out to save for another future use, thus further extending the sustainability concept.
Holden also used scraps from a local Goodwill store to up-cycle some of her garments, all while incorporating the saying “Imperfection is perfect” into her collection.
“I wanted people to embrace their flaws, just like denim has,” she said.
Although the material may have flaws, there are many sustainability benefits to using denim that make its use perfect, according to Holden.
“I designed the collection for Claiborne, but the dye extraction idea could change the sustainability of the denim industry as a whole,” she said.
Holden will head back to New York City to receive recognition for receiving the top prize during the CFDA awards ceremony on June 3.
And with one more year of college to go, Holden has her sights set on creating more sustainable products and help make environmentally friendly clothing a priority in the fashion industry. This summer, Holden will be an intern at Abercrombie & Fitch in Columbus, Ohio, in the denim department.
Holden’s parents, Charles and Mary, who have been residents of Hopkinton for 17 years, credit her hometown schooling and community support for their daughter’s success.
“We are extremely proud of her accomplishments thus far,” Mary said. “We are extremely grateful for the high school education she received at HHS and the support of so many friends and community members in her artistic/fashion endeavors to date.”