brandon_roman_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

Fashion design student Brandon Roman will represent The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale as one of 17 finalists from across North America who will compete in The Humane Society of the United States’ sixth annual Cool vs. Cruel Fashion Design Competition.

The grand-prize winner will receive a trip to New York City for the award presentation on Nov. 17, as well as an expenses-paid, week-long internship with a celebrated fur-free designer.

Cool vs. Cruel challenges fashion design students in art institutes around the country, as well as in Vancouver, Canada, to creatively reinterpret and replace the animal fur on runway looks by Zac Posen, Giorgio Armani, Burberry Prorsum, or Thakoon.

This year’s finalists were chosen from among more than 200 entries. The competition is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, in collaboration with The Art Institute.

“The garment I chose was the Burberry fur collar look,” said Roman. “This look has the entire elements that I like to work with as a designer. I made my cocktail dress out of recycled black plastic and nylon scraps.”

Michelle McDonald, deputy manager of the Human Society’s Fur-Free Campaign, said the competition “gives the next generation of designers the opportunity to learn about why many people are opposed to animal fur, as well as try their hand at alternatives.”

Finalists will be judged by professionals in the fashion industry, along with 2009 competition winner Ingrid Bergstrom.

For more information about the contest, visit or

Photos of Roman’s design may be viewed at