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Kornit Digital Awards Textile Design Students

Kornit Digital wants the fashion world to consider sustainability in the creation of textiles. For the last three years, the digital printer manufacturer has worked with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), challenging students to design textiles with an environmental message.

This year, the contest focused on the theme “wearable water.” Textile/surface design students at FIT were asked to come up with an original textile highlighting the importance of the Earth’s oceans. For the first time since Kornit’s collaboration with FIT began, participating students were able to watch in person as their designs were printed on a Kornit Allegro at Papilio Prints in New Jersey. According to Kornit, the Allegro is a “truly environmentally friendly solution,” since its integrated fixation process removes the need for pre-treatment, steaming and washing of fabric during production.

The finalists in Kornit's textile design contest, from left: Jihee Che, Janisha Biyanwila, Rachel McGuire and and Paige Leonard.

First place in Kornit’s textile design contest went to Jihee Che for her design “The Sulawesi Sea: Save the Coral Reefs.” Che says the piece should remind people of the seriousness of environmental pollution and how it affects endangered species. Half of the coral reefs in the Sulawesi Sea are affected by bleaching, which could have a significant impact on the species that live in the reefs.

Janisha Biyanwila received second place for her design called “Water: An Inconvenient Truth,” and Rachel McGuire took third place for a piece called “Blended Bycatch.” Paige Leonard received an honorable mention in the contest.

The designs were scored based on used of theme and sustainability, marketability, use of digital technology and overall design aesthetic by a panel of judges that included both Kornit executives and outside designers.

Winners received cash prizes and the opportunity to have their fabrics replicated as fashion items that display eco-awareness. The winning designs will be featured in Kornit’s booth at September’s SGIA Expo in Las Vegas.