Fashion Design Graduate Wins International Handbag Design Contest

In a banner year for fashion design awards for PhilaU students, the accolades continued with a first-place finish for Kaitlyn Doherty ’11 in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards this June.

Doherty won first place for “Best Student Made Handbag Inspired by the Colors of VitaminWater,” a contest sponsor, for her design. The contest drew over 1,200 applicants from around the world, narrowed to 40 finalists for the awards ceremony in New York City on June 15, where Doherty was announced as the winner in her category.

“I took the accessories class at PhilaU, taught by Anne Hand, and part of our course included submitting a handbag to the IHDA contest,” Doherty said. “For winning my category, I will be collaborating with VitaminWater to create a limited edition tote.” The bag will also be featured in the September 2011 issue of InStyle magazine.

Doherty’s design features pink suede splattered with gold and silver, and yellow zippers in a V-shape for VitaminWater. A fan of the soft drink, Doherty said she drew inspiration from her two favorite flavors, Focus and Power-C, both of which are pink.

“For the design, I wanted to create something simple, but unique,” she said.  “I sketched about 10 to 12 different variations of this bag before selecting the version I made.”

Doherty graduated cum laude in May and is currently finishing an internship with PhilaU’s Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection (LEHP). As a fashion design major at PhilaU, Doherty won numerous awards, including first runner up and People’s Choice Award at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market “Project OR” competition and the Young Spirit Award for Excellence in Childrenswear at the 2011 Fashion Show. She also had her work showcased in the Philadelphia International Flower Show, Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Project Capucci fashion show this spring.

“My four years at Philadelphia University have convinced me that this is one of the best fashion-design programs, and I am proud to say I am an alumna,” Doherty said. “I am so thankful to all of my professors for their advice and expertise.”

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