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FIT Student Wins Lectra/J.C. Penney Design Contest

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J.C. Penney is doing its part to help nurture a new generation of apparel designers.

The Plano, Texas-based department store chain linked up with Lectra, the integrated technology provider, to support New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in its mission to prepare its design students for careers in the industry by giving them a shot at working on real-world projects.

As part of a contest held recently at FIT, students chose from one of J.C. Penney’s private brands—including Worthington, St. John’s Bay, Stylus and Decree—and created a collection, based on the label’s positioning and its customer profile, using Lectra’s Kaledo software,

“A key element of our success at J.C. Penney is tied to the choices we provide our customers through our exclusive private brands,” Nathan Laffin, vice president of brand trend design, women’s, said. “Each brand tells a story and we rely on our textile design teams to make sure each story is distinct and will resonate with the target customer. We are always on the lookout for young designers who can bring something new to the table and this competition has been a perfect opportunity for us to discover some up-and-coming talent.”

JCP Lectra FITCargla Ertan’s designs, prints and color palettes for Penney’s juniors brand, Decree, won first place in the contest. Judges felt her collection “best embodied the brand’s DNA” and she will start an eight-month internship at the retailer’s design studio in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in September.

Kevin Tung took second place, while Cemile Simsek was the competition’s third-place winner.

“In this competitive industry, it is an advantage to have experience using industry tools that simplify the creative process and bring ideas to life quickly and easily,” Gerard Dellova, FIT adjunct assistant professor and contest coordinator, said. “Our goal is to provide our students with skills that make them more marketable when it comes to finding a design job. This experience has given them a taste of what it’s like to come up with new styles in an actual retail design setting.”

Jason Adams, president of Lectra North America, agreed: “This competition is an important example of the partnership that exists between the company and its education and industry partners, such as FIT and J.C. Penney.”