Fashion Design Students Win Target Awards for New Design Concepts

Victoria Pion won first place for her collection of fashionable maternity separates.

Target, one of the largest merchandise retailers in the U.S., challenged 18 fashion design juniors to analyze their in-store offerings, identify an opportunity for brand expansion and propose a new collection concept—and do it just one month.

Using new design-sharing technology, Target officials reviewed the students’ creative designs on Behance, an online showcase for digital portfolios, which PhilaU launched on campus this fall.  After a week of deliberations, the Target team on Nov. 7 recognized the outstanding work of three students with cash prizes.

The first-place prize of $1,000 went to Victoria Pion; second place was awarded to Dana Jackson; and third place went to Gina Ferrero.

“I really feel lucky that I was given the opportunity to even show my work to Target, and then to get such a positive reaction on top of that is incredible,” Pion said. “It’s a unique opportunity, and I have PhilaU to thank for it.”

Pion had identified opportunity for expansion in Target’s maternity section and created fashion-forward separates inspired by her findings at Golden Nugget Flea Market in New Jersey.

“We’re very proud of our fashion design students and appreciate Target’s generous support of our program and the University,” Celia Frank, associate professor of fashion design and Target competition faculty liaison, said.

Target kicked off the competition virtually on Oct. 1, providing the students with a design brief of the project challenge, details of their typical customer and summaries of the company’s merchandising goals. The competition gave students the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to a real-world challenge, bridging the corporate and academic worlds.

“Designing for Target helped me understand what it is like designing for a mass market,” Jackson said. “You want your designs to be edgy but still streamlined so that they appeal to a wider demographic.” Jackson drew inspiration for her six-piece collection of plus-size garments from cubist paintings, incorporating angular silhouettes and trendy pleats into her designs.

Third place winner Gina Ferrero designed a collection of fashionable active wear separates for women.

The $2,000 in prize money was funded through a Target Campus Grant and facilitated by PhilaU’s Career Services Center.

To see more of Victoria’s winning design, visit

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