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SohoMuse & Runway 7 Presented Runway Muse at New York Fashion Week hosted by SohoMuse Co-founder/CEO Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin

Inaugural national student design competition judged by industry insiders Naeem Khan, Mickey Boardman, Elliott Carlyle, Debbie Dickinson, and Joseph DeAcetis

SohoMuse, the global creative community’s professional networking website, and Runway 7, the New York Fashion Week vertical fashion platform, were proud to present Runway Muse, an inaugural fashion student runway competition, at Runway 7, held at Sony Hall, 235 W 46th Street. The event was live-streamed and shown to an audience of fashion VIPs, influencers, press, and buyers.

The runway competition – one of the ticketed New York Fashion Week events at Runway 7 – was hosted by SohoMuse co-founder/CEO and Billboard recording artist Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin and featured 16 graduating student designers from fashion schools across the country, including Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Istituto Marangoni Miami. Five distinguished judges critiqued the students’ two original designs – one athleisure/streetwear look and one edgy nightlife look: Fashion designer Naeem Khan, who debuted his S/S 2022 collection at Runway 7 in September 2021; writer, designer, and pop culture culturist Mickey Boardman; author and life coach Elliot Carlyle; actress and model Debbie Dickinson; and fashion writer and designer Joseph DeAcetis.

Elliot Carlyle, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin ©Getty Images
Debbie Dickinson ©Getty Images

The inaugural fashion student runway competition allowed young designers to be mentored by SohoMuse lead designers, learn how to create and develop their line, and then sell it. With this competition SohoMuse will provide mentorship and job opportunities to the next generation of designers. Three student winners were chosen, and each received a dream come true: their first fashion collection made by Runway 7’s expert team of pattern-makers and seamstresses, as well as an all-expenses-paid runway show to debut their new fashion line at Runway 7 during New York Fashion Week in September 2022. The first-place winner was Desislava Simeonova who was awarded an original 20-piece collection; first runner-up Jacqueline Mones who was awarded a 15-piece collection; and the second runner-up Francys Lorena Herrera who was awarded a 10-piece collection.

Runway 7 will hold product development meetings with the winning designers and will produce all designs. All winners will have their lines featured in SohoMuse Marketplace, an e-commerce retail platform, in addition to a professionally produced runway show during NYFW in September 2022. Each designer will have an e-boutique dedicated to direct-to-consumer sales, as well as one year of online exposure.

Winner Desislava Simeonova with Models ©Getty Images
Winner Francys Lorena Herrera with Models ©Getty Images

Other student designers that competed in the inaugural Runway Muse competition were Jamie Avadis, Bryan Barrientos, Alejandro Bárzaga, Neena Bui, Belkys Costa, Eve De La Font, Carmen Lee, Owen Rogoff, Alyssa Seelal, Ghena Spatola, Yvari Toussaint, Helen Troshyna and Lisa Husberg. The students represented the following schools: including Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA), Fashion Institute of South Florida (Miami, FL), Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, NY), Fashion Careers International (FCI) Fashion School (Los Angeles, CA), Instituto Marangoni Miami (Miami, FL), Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) (Boston, MA), Miami International University of Art & Design (Miami, FL), THOS Fashion School of Design (Boca Raton, FL), and Austin Community College Fashion Incubator (Austin, TX).

“We wanted to create an opportunity for young designers, who would soon be coming out of school and entering the workplace, to be mentored and nurtured,” said Costin. “Giving them access to fashion industry insiders for valuable advice and direction, plus the chance to create the line that they have always dreamed of, and then to be able to sell it and showcase it in their first show, is an incredible opportunity. The business of fashion is just as important as the creative aspect,” said Costin.

“Becoming a success in the fashion industry can be especially challenging to a student who may be blessed with an innate design talent yet lacks the specific skillsets to hone his or her craft – as well as the backing to produce a first collection. That’s where Runway Muse is a true game changer,” says Amy Montoya, Runway 7 Director of Operations and a partner in Runway Muse.

“Runway 7 is proud to play a role in empowering the next generation of fashion designers,” said Anthony Rosa, founder of Runway 7. “Our platform is unique in the New York fashion industry – Runway 7 is the only fashion vertical that will cut, sew, and manufacture your collection – as well as produce the runway show to launch it. We are the total package and have the infrastructure to produce fashion industry superstars. We are excited to see the talent that emerges from the Runway Muse competition.”

About Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin: Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin is cofounder and president of the career networking site SohoMuse, a platform for creative professionals across the globe to network and collaborate across various creative industries. SohoMuse, launched in 2018, counts many of the world’s top creatives as members, including fashion designers Malan Breton and Nicole Miller, and New York Times fashion writer Ruth La Ferla. Costin is a seventh-generation descendent of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, a singer-songwriter, and a successful tech entrepreneur. As an artist and entrepreneur, she began her career as a singer-songwriter, landing her first record deal in the U.K. at the age of 21. In 2010, she founded her own record label, a venture that garnered her the title of Billboard Recording Artist with all singles landing in the top 10, with her latest single at top 5. Costin also released a jewelry collection inspired by the Vanderbilt family heirlooms on HSN. The Homage line paid tribute to her prestigious family history.

About SohoMuse: SohoMuse is the premier online community for creative professionals. It is a destination for creative professionals to represent themselves, connect with each other, find work opportunities, learn, teach, and develop their careers. SohoMuse focuses on the main sectors of the Global Creative Industry: architecture and related services; creative goods and products; entertainment and digital media; fashion and fine arts and performing arts. Among the career roles in SohoMuse’s target member base: writers; actors and performers; graphic and visual designers; illustrators; photographers; music supervisors; sound engineers; video/film and tv producers; creative directors and game designers. SohoMuse enables creatives to expand their networks and opportunities, source and hire top talent and collaborate with other creatives in one secure and trusted online environment, from anywhere around the globe. SohoMuse provides all the networking tools creatives need to promote projects, source talent, share and sell services;

About Runway 7: Recognized as the first and only hybrid of its kind, Runway 7 Fashion is a vertical one-stop fashion platform representing the best in cultural diversity by integrating international designers, media celebrities and commerce. Runway 7 not only has the capability of offering its designers production to develop their collection samples, but also produce a professional runway show that is presented to an audience of industry insiders, media, buyers and VIPs. Runway 7’s expansive style marketplace offers guests a true experiential event both in person and online to directly engage with brands and designers. Runway 7 debuted in September 2021.

Models walk the runway ©Getty Images
Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin ©Andrew Werner