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Get to Know the VPA Fashion Design Program

Get to Know the VPA Fashion Design Program

Fashion is constantly changing, and iconic supermodel Emme is helping design students stay on top of the trends. The fashion design program at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) has joined with Emme, class of ‘85, to launch the program, Fashion Without Limits (FWL). This design initiative promotes the creation of plus-size designs through a special competition.

The Fashion Without Limits program was created because of the need for increased availability for size 12+ fashions throughout all levels of distribution in the fashion industry today. The majority of American women wear 12+ sizes, which is commonly known as plus-size.

Emme, who currently is a TV show host, supermodel, designer and speaks to women, men and children about body image and self-esteem and is creating clothing for different outlets.

After healing from cancer treatment, she asked what her legacy would be.

“I came up with Fashion Without Limits,” Emme said. “I began wondering why 100 million [people] were not able to buy clothes that reflect their personality.”

After speaking with Emme, anyone who connects with her can see her true passion and aspirations for helping change the conversation around clothing sizes. Emme explained how much of a difference this makes. The opportunities that she has are because of the diverse education she received, Emme said.  

“Without fashion designers learning how to design for more women’s bodies, they would remain to create for sizes 2, 4, 6, that reflected the dress forms classically found in the design schools around the world,” she said. “Now I am proud to say we have graduates from VPA and FWL programs jobs in the fashion industry and applying to design for women 0-24+ for their employers, and creating a real impact on inclusive fashion on the racks, shelves and online.”

The program itself revolves around a competition to design an evening dress and the winner receives an award and $500. Emme will also wear the winning design at a red carpet event.

“The students enrolled in VPA have passionate professions equipped to ignite your goals and dreams,” Emme said. “There is nothing better than innovation and this program helps students with internships, and great opportunities.”

“I learned to never give up, to keep working within my passion and all flows from there. It’s not always roses, but you do get a bouquet from time to time that makes the hard work worth the while,” Emme said.

Photo: Sarai Thompson .                             Exterior views of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse


Photo: Sarai Thompson                              Students’ designs showcased on the mannequins in the lobby


Photo: Sarai Thompson                                      VPA students pose for a photo after class


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This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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