Born Free USA announced the winners of its 5th Annual fffashion Competition, two of whom are Chicago Area natives. (ff stands for fur free.)
The first place winner is Colin MacGregor a Wilmette IL, native and New Trier High School Graduate. Vanessa Walilko formally of Des Plaines, IL and graduate of Des Plaines’ Science and Arts Academy High School.won 3rd place in the international completion.
The use of fur for trim and garments is a constant point of contention between animal advocacy organizations such as Born Free USA and the fur industry. The fffashion Competition provides Born Free USA a platform from which they can call attention to their anti-fur stance.
MacGregor, age 22 is currently enrolled at Rhode Island School of Design pursuing a degree in design and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Brown University, won first place for his 100 percent cotton patchwork sweater.
He says, “My inspiration for this sweater was my childhood obsession with superheroes. I designed this based on classic comic books – translating the visual aesthetic and mood of comics into sophisticated modern street wear. By focusing on knitwear, I am able to choose natural yarns and knit pattern pieces, enabling a zero-waste, sustainable process.”
Walilko who graduated from Chicago’s DePaul University in 2005. For her award winning entry she wove 6,000 aluminum rings and discs together in fashioning a roaring 20’s “Flapper Dress.” Her primary tool was a a pair of pliers and assembled the dress using techniques similar to those used in making chainmaille.
She selected aluminum because, “Aluminum is the only material on the planet that is 100 percent recyclable. I seek to make pieces of wearable art that help shift values to sustainability and protecting the environment. I believe high fashion shouldn’t have a high environmental cost. We can make fashion choices that protect animals and the environment without sacrificing style.”
A celebrity fashion panel judged the entries and decided upon the fffashion Competition winners. Adam Roberts Executive Vice President of Born Free USA made the announcement.
Photos and more information on all winners of the fffashion Competition can be seen at the Born Free USA website.
According to Roberts, “Over the past five years our fur free competition has been celebrating and encouraging those in the fashion industry to implement a fur-free work ethic and a commitment to the environment. We want to identify and encourage emerging designers who believe in animal welfare and wildlife conservation and have no interest in perpetuating the cruel fur industry. We are impressed with these winning designs chosen by our generous panel of celebrity judges and hope for a future where these eco-conscious designers can influence the fashion industry against using fur.”
Accoriding to industry estimates 50 million animals are slaughtered each year for their fur. Kathleen Lowson film producer, and animal advocate says of these animals they are slaughtered “Without mercy for the sake of fashion, self-aggrandizement, and absorption with ego.”
Born Free USA and most other animal welfare and animal advocacy groups are against the use of fur of any kind being used to either trim a garment or for to be used as the material for a garment.