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For Immediate Release: 08/06/10

Make Room Project Runway

Winners of 2nd Annual Fur Free Fashion Competition Announced by Born Free USA and Celebrity Judges

Washington DC — To shine a spotlight on talented emerging fashion designers who believe in the ethical and environmental benefits of shunning fur fashion, Born Free USA (BFUSA), the nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, created the Fur Free Fashion (fffashion) Competition, now in its second successful year. Winners were announced today by Born Free CEO Will Travers, after a celebrity judging panel made their final choices.

Travers said, “We created this competition to boost fashion careers and honor independent designers who have compassion for animals and for the ethical and green fashion movement. This has become an extraordinary opportunity for emerging fashion stars to showcase their talent and contribute to a critical global issue. Our hope is that these talented participants will help pave the way for a more ethical fashion industry in the future.”

This years’ judges for the competition were: Sophie Uliano, author of New York Times bestseller Gorgeously Green; Summer Rayne Oaks, model, spokesperson, and expert for Discovery Network's Planet Green; Brita Belli, editor of E/The Environmental Magazine; and Josh Dorfman, author and host of The Lazy Environmentalist on Sundance Channel's The Green.


(Editors: click here for photos)

First Place: Tammy Apostol, an independent designer in Miami, FL, for her “Green Organic Cotton Gown,” a strapless mermaid silhouette gown with a back train. Apostol said “It is the responsibility of us, the designers and manufacturers, to bring environmental awareness to the consumer by providing more and better sustainable products and style.”

Second Place: Valerie Mayen, an independent designer in Cleveland, Ohio, for her “Cherry Snap,” a two-tiered skirt with a textured high waistband, adjustable to size with varied snaps, designed to accessorize any basic ensemble in a unique way. Mayen said "I have always been very persistent when it comes to integrating sustainability into my work.”

Third Place (The Student Award): Kyle Ramirez, a design student at The Art Institute of Dallas, for his “Cotton Candy Dress” that creates the illusion of something “soft and weightless like fur and cotton candy” but uses cascading ruffles, antiqued satin fabric, artificial flowers and beads, to achieve that illusion. Ramirez said “Change in fashion represents our world’s change. It does not have to be harmful to our planet. I am eco-conscious about my designs.”

The Green Award (for the most environmentally friendly design): Moe Donnelly, an independent designer in Ashville NC, for her “Traveling Soiree Dress and Bolero Jacket,” an aesthetic of “Edwardian Era elegance” transformed into something practical. Donnelly made the bodice from an unfinished blouse she found at a thrift store and paired it with cotton blend fabrics from a local NC fabric store and lined it with recycled fleece. She made the jacket from a reassembled men’s suit and the arm-warmers were recycled from a velvet blazer which she then lined with material from a thrift shop sweater. “I try to use antique, vintage and thrifted fabrics to create one-of-a-kind pieces.”

“Compassion for animals is part of the planet’s social and environmental equation. Fashion designers, retailers, and consumers must realize that fur has no place in ethical consumerism. Simply put, fur is not in style, is not cool, and is not fashionable in any sense of the word,” Travers explains.


  • First Prize: $750 cash; gifts from Urban Decay; the winning design professionally modeled, photographed, and featured in E The Environmental Magazine; and a feature profile of the winner and the design on the Born Free USA fffashion website.
  • Second Prize: $500 cash; gifts from Urban Decay; recognition in E The Environmental Magazine; and a profile of the designer/design on the Born Free USA fffashion website.
  • Third Prize: $250 cash; gift from Urban Decay; recognition in E The Environmental Magazine; and a profile of the designer/design on the Born Free USA fffashion website.
  • Finalists: The top 10 participants and their designs will be recognized on the Born Free USA website fffashion website.

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets”, trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade.  BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. BFUSA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation”, the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation. Born Free Foundation was established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, 203/270-8929; rodicompany@earthlink.net  

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