Fashion student is taking her talents to South Beach

Junior fashion design major Kellie Mathews models her winning design “Distressed Comfort.” Matthew’s design (shown here) won the Cotton’s 24-hour Runway Show Design Contest in South Beach, Florida. 

Felicia Ssempala

One Kent State fashion student will travel to South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, from Nov. 7-9 to see her work in one of the biggest and longest runway shows in the country.

Junior fashion design major Kellie Matthews is one of the 10 grand-prize winners in Cotton’s 24-Hour Runway Show Design Contest.

Cotton Inc. and the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board founded Cotton University, with the mission of “increasing the demand for and profitability of cotton through research and promotion,” according to its website.

Matthews said she was surprised and excited her design “Distressed Comfort” won the grand prize. 

“I didn’t really expect much to happen,” she said. 

Her design was a romper with a denim jacket.

“It’s really about being comfortable but confident on your first day of school,” Matthews said.

The romper is loose-fitting and the denim jacket that she distressed and hand-bleached gave it an edgy but comfortable look, Matthews said.

The competition was comprised of two parts: the illustration and the final garment.

“We had to submit an illustration of a design that was a back-to-school look and it had to be completely made out of cotton,” Matthews said.

Twenty semi-finalists were chosen to advance to the next round based on their back-to-school illustrations. Junior fashion design major Paula Caleb was also a semi-finalist in the competition.

From the 20, a final look was made and sent in. Cotton University then chose 10 designs as its final winners, Matthews said.

Matthews will be flown to the 24-hour runway show to see her garment worn live on the runway. 

Contact Felicia Ssempala at [email protected].