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Ou Ma Wins Loehmann’s NY Design Challenge

Ou Ma, a sixth-semester Fashion Design student specializing in Knitwear at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), has won off-price specialty retailer Loehmann’s NY Design Challenge competition, held exclusively with FIT.

Ma, from Beijing, China, was named the first-place winner during a celebration at the Loehmann’s Chelsea location in New York City, hosted by Loehmann’s style expert Felix Mercado. She received a $2,000 cash prize, as well as the opportunity to have lunch with Loehmann’s CEO Steven M. Newman. Maor Tapiro from Brooklyn, NY, and Valeria Wang from Xi’an, China, were named second- and third-place winners, respectively. All three finalists’ garments were showcased in Loehmann’s Chelsea storefront window.

Ou Ma photograph with winning design

The competition invited FIT Fashion Design students to submit up to three avant-garde evening wear designs inspired by famous New York City landmarks. The three finalists were chosen by voting held on Loehmann’s Facebook page.

Inspired by the Guggenheim Museum, Ma created a dress of 100 percent ivory silk garza and silk blend netting, featuring a crinoline cage made from plastic boning and tape. “As a fashion designer, I always draw inspiration from architecture, and the Guggenheim Museum is one of my favorites,” said Ma. “By looking at the outside concrete structure, I was inspired by the beautiful spiral shapes and the smooth surface.”

The Fashion Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was established in 1944, the year the college was founded. The associate degree program provides students with an essential foundation for creating apparel from sketch to finished garment. In the baccalaureate program, students receive advanced instruction in specialized areas. The program’s close ties to the fashion design industry provide an immersion in current trends and practices. As part of their course of study, students intern with leading designers and design houses, and also have the opportunity to study abroad, in particular at one of FIT’s programs in Florence and Milan. Acclaimed FIT designer alumni include Reem Acra, Amsale Aberra, Brian Atwood, Jhane Barnes, John Bartlett, Dennis Basso, Stephen Burrows, Francisco Costa, Andrew Fezza, Norma Kamali, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Miranda Morrison, Rebecca Moses, Ralph Rucci, Kari Sigerson, Michelle Smith, and Daniel Vosovic.

FIT is a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology, with a wide range of programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Part of the State University of New York, the college offers more than 45 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees.

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