Founded in 2013 by Supermodel Emme, 1985 Syracuse University graduate, Fashion Without Limits (FWL) is a national initiative established and cofounded with professors Jeffrey Mayer and Todd Conover at Syracuse University’s School of Design, Fashion Program, where young designers are taught an inclusive fashion education (pattern making, draping, illustration, design and grading) during their 4-year fashion education with a junior year competition highlighting the Fashion Without Limits Designer of the Year.
The Fashion Without Limits EMME Award™ winners receive a cash gift of $500, and Emme (or another top model of choice) wear the winning design to either an awards ceremony, a red carpet event, or in a magazine’s editorial spread to give winning designers coveted press tears of their work prior to graduation. Lastly, winning designs when able, are brought into production with a retail partner, with the student designer’s name on the label along with the Fashion Without Limits hangtag highlighting their winning dress.
Fashion Without Limits’ mission is three-fold:
To strengthen the impact of fashion design, positive body image and self-esteem for 100 million women whose dress size is above size 14, in the US who can not find life style appropriate apparel.
Reduce a 62+billion-dollar apparel return crisis (in the US alone) and
Boost our national economy by direct billions of dollars to go into the supply/demand chain.
The Fashion Without Limits® Student Designer Award is given to the student designer who clearly connects to and embraces celebrating a woman’s body™. A panel composed of faculty and alumni chooses the winning design based on the student designer’s innovative design incorporating effortless style, a fuller figure, impeccable fit and commercial viability factor. Award: $500.00
The Fashion Without Limits® Professor Award is given to the professor (s) who exemplifies the mission of Fashion Without Limits, who shares their passion, enthusiasm in teaching a fresh new and invigorated way for an inclusive fashion education to their young designers. Award: Corning Glass Fashion Without Limits® Goddess Statue
The Fashion Without Limits® Designer Award is given to the designer who clearly connects and embraces celebrating a woman’s body™ and those of men and juniors in new and innovative fashion outlets. The winner is chosen based on the designer’s innovative design incorporating effortless style, impeccable fit and commercial viability factor.
The Fashion Without Limits® Media Award is given to the media outlet, editor, reporter, blogger, producer, data researcher or journalist who, in a professional, fact based, data driven and inclusive manner delivers ground breaking and shape shifting coverage within the fashion and beauty industry celebrating a woman’s body ™, and those of men and juniors lacking apparel choices in current fashion outlets around the world. Award: Corning Glass Fashion Without Limits® Goddess Statue
Fashion Without Limits® Retailer of The Year Award is given to that retailer who best in industry has an inclusive fashion reflection of their customer in design, presentation, fit and overall messaging online and/or in store. Award: Corning Glass Fashion Without Limits® Goddess Statue
According to Business Insider...
According to Business Insider, “plus-sizes … account for 67 percent of the population;” a recent survey of more than 5,000 U.S. women by online retailer ModCloth found that “more U.S. women report wearing a size 16 dress than a size 2 and 0 combined,” and “57 percent of U.S. women wear at least some clothing in sizes 16 and above.”
The inaugural “Fashion Without Limits” competition to design an evening dress will be announced to junior fashion design majors at the beginning of the fall 2014 semester. The students will work on their designs throughout the academic year, with the winning design announced at the conclusion of the spring 2015 semester.
The student designers currently work exclusively with dress forms donated by Wolf Form Co. in Englewood, N.J., the premier designer and manufacturer of standard and custom handmade forms in the fashion industry. The dress forms allow the students to design for sizes 16, 18, 20 and 22 along with size 2, 4, and 6 for a fully integrated inclusive fashion education.
In addition to curriculum changes and the competition, the fashion design program plans to offer a related speaker series. The program is currently fundraising for the purchase of fabric and other associated costs to support these endeavors. To make a donation to the “Fashion Without Limits” design initiative, visit http://vpa.syr.edu/alumni/get-involved/donate. (If you choose to give via our secure, online giving site, please specify “Fashion Without Limits” in the “Gift Information” section.) For more information about the initiative, contact the VPA Office of Advancement at 315-443-7095.
Unleashing the creative potential of American Fashion Designers
“I am deeply grateful to feel the warm embrace in my partnership with Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and ‘Fashion Without Limits;’ initiative leadership by Assistant Professor Todd Conover; unwavering support by Del and Burt Hunton of Wolf Form; and confirmation for this revolutionary step in fashion education from the student body,” says Emme. “These are all steps that will help create a radical shift in how American designers celebrate a woman’s body. ”
“Emme’s passion made us aware that many college fashion design students can’t even try on their own designs because they only work with size 8 and 10 dress forms,” says Del Hunton, head of sales at Wolf Form Company. “We were happy to donate the forms to help the fashion design program become a founding father of size 12+ design.”
“We are so proud to be collaborating with Emme and Wolf Form Co. on the ‘Fashion Without Limits’ initiative,” says Todd Conover, assistant professor and coordinator of the fashion design program in VPA’s Department of Design. “We have planned curriculum changes within the fashion design program that will introduce this powerful initiative this coming fall, and we have future plans to implement additional curriculum changes to integrate ‘Fashion Without Limits’ into all four years of our program. Thanks to Emme’s passion and commitment to aspirational high fashion for every body type, we will be at the forefront of a movement that I am hoping will spread throughout fashion programs, designer workrooms and retailers across the country and will begin to alter body image attitudes.”
Fashion without limits® award winner's circle!
2019 Fashion Without Limits® Student Designer Winner: Kalthom A. Aljiboury
2018 Fashion Without Limits® Student Designer Winner: Kerry Phelan
Kerry Phelan: This driven and hard working Fashion Design major with a minor in Retail Management spent a semester last spring at The London College of Fashion then interned with Boston designer Denise Hajjar. As a designer, Kerry is motivated to find ways to use fashion as a voice. Her aim is to put meaning into her work by creating fashion that promotes sustainability, self-expression, and social justice.
This is what she had to say about winning this year’s Fashion Without Limits Award: ‘I feel extremely honored to be a part of the design initiative Fashion Without Limits. Because of this design initiative I was given the resources needed to design in ALL sizes, which many design students do not have due to restrictions on sizes of traditional dress forms. It feels extremely empowering to be a part of something that is pushing the boundaries of fashion, breaking through the old barriers, creating an inclusive industry catering to everyone regardless of size. This program has given me the chance to put more meaning into my work and strive to make a change. “
2018: Fashion Without Limits® Media Winner: Dick Silverman, WWD
It is with great pleasure I present Dick Silverman, long-time and revered former editor of WWD, with this special award, recognizing his consistent ground-breaking reporting on the much underserved plus size fashion industry in the 1990’s.
Well before the fashion industry was ready to embrace the change we see occurring in the market place today, Dick had a clear understanding of where the opportunities were within the plus market and despite the challenges, forged on and continued to write and shed light on them.
A leader, supporter and a friend, Dick’s persistent and professional stick-to-it-iveness was the wind beneath the industry’s wings, not to mention mine as a body image activist, supermodel, and clothing designer in the 90’s, I am a firm believer, without his and a select few in the media, the curvy fashion industry would not be where it is today!
2017 Fashion Without Limits® Student Designer Winner: Courtney Capazzi:
Courtney Capazzi: "I am sincerely grateful to have to opportunity to work with Emme on her mission to expand the plus size market and create fashionable clothing for all women. Fashion Without Limits has given me, and the students at Syracuse University the opportunity to create greater meaning in our designs. It has allowed me to expand my horizons, push boundaries and negate the limitations of size. I hope that other universities will follow suit and give their students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and push passed standard sizing. I look forward to the day that stores are no longer segregated by size, and I am hopeful by educating students Fashion Without Limits has the power to push the fashion industry one step closer to that ideal.”
2016 Fashion Without Limits® Student Designer Winner: Khari Walser
Khari Walser: "The opportunity to partake in something bigger than myself has been so great. I truly believe that Emme is creating an opportunity for designers to expand their minds and think in unconventional ways and as a designer that means something. Before I learned about Fashion Without Limits and partook in the program, I hadn’t thought much about the plus size market, let alone designing for it. I knew that the lack of options for plus sized women was an ongoing problem and affected many people that I knew but I didn’t know how I could improve that situation. With Fashion Without Limits I have seen that potential and plan to, through the course of my career as a designer, bridge that gap so that when people think of plus sized fashion it no longer carries the label of “plus sized fashion” and is simply just fashion! ”
2015 Fashion Without Limits® Student Designer Winner: Nicole Wezowicz:
Nicole Wezowicz, a junior fashion design major in the Department of Design, designed the winning gown for the inaugural Fashion Without Limits 12+ EMME Award™. Fashion Without Limits is an initiative launched by supermodel Emme ’85 and the fashion design program to promote the creation of 12+ designs in the junior year. Emme selected Wezowicz’s gown during the VPA/Newhouse Fashion and Beauty Communications Milestone fashion show in early April. Wezowicz will receive $500, and Emme will wear her winning design at a red carpet event. ”The inspiration behind the dress was to keep it classy, elegant and comfortable,” says Wezowicz.