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Visual Merchandising Students Win Retail Design Institute’s “Iron Design” Challenge

LIM College students Jennifer Cohen and Dori Rhode were part of the winning team in the Retail Design Institute (RDI) New York Chapter’s “Iron Design” Student Challenge on October 14.

Five teams of students from top New York schools raced against the clock to create a winning holiday pop-up shop design. Ultimately the “Best Design” Award went to “Team Orange,” comprised of students from LIM College and the Fashion Institute of Technology, for incorporating DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)’s mission into a creative pop-up store concept and window display.

The winning design will be built in the Siegel-Stockman Showroom in Chelsea as DIFFA’s Gift for Life Holiday Pop-Up Shop. It will be open to the public for holiday shopping from December 2-6, 2015. All shop sales will benefit Gift For Life and DIFFA, an organization that provides grants to HIV/AIDS organizations across the country.

The students had two hours to design a holiday pop-up shop featuring products donated by industry suppliers. Each team consisted of 3-4 students. The teams were mentored and coached by professionals from design firms and retail brands including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nine West Group, Hudson’s Bay/Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Cole and Kate Spade. The student’s designs were judged on their overall concept for a shop and integration of messaging around HIV/AIDS.

LIM College Visual Merchandising students Ashley Arter, Erica Pierson and Ashlyn Salig also participated in the competition.

“Team Orange united to design a space that invokes comfort through support. Their design relayed the message that those fighting HIV/AIDS or any disease are not alone– we are in this fight together!” said Megan Gundrum, Director of Store Planning for Lord & Taylor.

“The pop-up shop is a great way for DIFFA to bring its critical message to a wider audience. The student’s designs were very impressive and their work goes toward a great cause of combating HIV/AIDS. DIFFA and Gift for Life are so proud to have partnered with RDI for this amazing event, and we look forward to the Holiday Pop-Up Shop!” said Johanna Osburn, executive director of DIFFA.

PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Cadan