Jefferson Fashion Students Win “Good Morning America” Wedding Gown Design Challenge

PHILADELPHIA — November 28, 2017 — Two Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) fashion design students won the “Good Morning America” competition to re-design a wedding gown into a totally new fashion-forward look.

Fashion students Keren Espina and Tommy Heidebrecht first looked stunned and quickly broke out in broad smiles as “Good Morning America” host Lara Spencer announced the winners on the November 24 show.

The students’ winning design was a three-piece ensemble in shades of yellow and blue featuring shorts, bustier top and a jacket with stunning handwork of a large Van Gogh-inspired sunflower on the back.

“We’ve gone to thousands of fashion shows,” said celebrity stylist Joe Zee, one of the judges. “That could be on a runway.”

“It is incredible to win,” said Heidebrecht, a junior. “It’s great to know that all the hard work paid off, and to have it validated by some important people in the industry is amazing.”

The “Good Morning America” competition kicked off in New York on August 29, when the Jefferson students and teams from Marist College and Montclair State University were presented with the design challenge: take a traditional long, white, beaded wedding gown and turn it into a sensational new outfit.

Through several weeks of sleepless nights and weekend work — and with visits by GMA to record their progress on camera — Espina and Heidebrecht deconstructed, designed, dyed, sewed and ironed their way to the top.

The students presented their final designs to judges during a runway show taped Sept. 14 at the “Good Morning America” studio, where Espina and Heidebrecht were declared the winners. The students were asked to keep their win under wraps until the segment aired.

The competition was judged by Zee and Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire magazine. The designs were judged on creativity, technical skills and sustainability—using as much as possible of the original gown, including beading, lace and trim.

“I’m beyond excited, as well as grateful for the opportunity to participate and proud to represent Jefferson and the fashion design program,” said Espina, a senior. She expects the experience of designing the winning outfit and competing on national television in a high-pressure environment will help open doors as she enters the fashion industry after graduating in May.

“I’m so proud of Tommy and Keren,” said Sheila Connelly, director of Jefferson’s fashion design program. “The original wedding dress is unrecognizable with the dyeing, surface detail and embellishments they created during many sleepless nights. Winning this challenge is wonderful recognition for our internationally acclaimed Jefferson fashion design program.”

Posted November 28, 2017

Source: Thomas Jefferson University