Acing Alpaca

Someday, Alexandria Forsythe plans to open her own boutique. In the meantime, she's making a name for herself.

The Harper College fashion design student beat out dozens of other competitors from colleges and universities across the nation to take second place at a recent competition requiring a cutting-edge designer textile from alpaca fibers. 

The honor landed her a $750 scholarship, a trip to Nashville, Tenn. to collect the prize and bragging rights in a field of entrants from schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and the Art Institute of California.

Forsythe, a 20-year-old Mount Prospect resident, sought a classic vintage feel when crafting her fabric - a square of soft knitted lace that she submitted along with an illustration of a potential end product: a short, chic pink jacket.

"Contests like this one draw remarkably talented students in the area of fashion and textile design," says Donna Sculley, Forsythe's textiles instructor. "Alexandria's ability to stand out from that crowd speaks to her skill and potential in this industry, and also highlights the talent we have at Harper College."

The annual Fiber to Fashion Design Competition is sponsored by the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association. Alpaca, though not widely used in fashion, is similar to cashmere in its substantial price and luxurious texture.

Harper students have proven victorious at the contest before, earning the College a winning reputation and national attention from organizations looking to sponsor student entries. Students Amanda Joseph and Yulia Kersten took home wins in the textile category in 2010 and 2009, respectively; in 2008, a trendy knee-length coat designed by student Olga Pasman won the top prize in the fashion category and was later manufactured and sold online.

Forsythe, who is now enrolled in four fashion courses, plans a career in fashion design.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159.