Thursday, July 16

Brookdale Newsroom

Brookdale Student Takes Top Honors at AC Fashion Week
A young woman stands on a runway and faces the crowd as a model in a dress walks behind her.

Two Brookdale fashion students took center stage this month during 2018 Atlantic City Fashion Week (ACFW), held from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17 at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City.

Brookdale fashion major Cynthia Mathews-Duran and Fashion Club president Elizabeth Wright were invited to participate in ACFW’s annual Student Showcase, displaying their original designs crafted from repurposed materials. Competing against some of the top college students in the nation, the two emerging fashionistas made their mark on the judges. 

At the conclusion of the student showcase, Mathews-Duran was declared the overall winner, while Wright earned rave reviews from colleagues and critics alike.

“I could not be more proud of Cynthia and Elizabeth,” said Annmarie Hughes, Brookdale fashion merchandising instructor and a 13-year veteran of the fashion industry. “The fact that this was the first time Brookdale has competed in this competition, and the fact that we had a winner, speaks volumes about our program and the talent of our students.”

Mathews-Duran, a Wall Township native, earned top honors for her collection of strong, feminine garments bearing a “dusty rose and metallic” color palette and unconventional placement – and uses – of the common zipper. 

“As I got more involved in the designing process and allowed my creativity to take over, the garments seemed to begin creating themselves,” she said.

“The draped zipper dress I began with – which is now on display in Brookdale’s Design Studio – was so interesting and visually appealing that I had to try to bring it to life and make it wearable. As I began sewing and seeing how the garments evolved, I ended up incorporating many other types and textures of fabrics, creating a unique aesthetic I did not quite expect, surprising even myself.”

A model walks on a runway wearing a flowing, pink and metallic dress.

A model showcases one of Cynthia Mathews-Duran’s designs during Atlantic City Fashion Week. Photo courtesy of Edwin Alvarado.

A former student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, Mathews-Duran said she returned to Monmouth County and enrolled in Brookdale’s fashion program following the birth of her first daughter. After graduating this May, she hopes to complete her studies at FIT while continuing to weave a promising career in the world of fashion design. 

To be named the winner of ACFW’s Student Showcase feels very gratifying and it really just solidifies the idea that this is absolutely what I want to do with my life,” she said. “This experience, I would imagine and hope, is a gateway to my career as a fashion designer, and I aspire to one day make it to New York Fashion Week. Not because it is regarded as glamorous, but because I am a very high achiever and I’ve proven to myself many times during my time at Brookdale that I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to, and then some.

I would not have been able to learn these things about myself without the dedication and support of Brookdale professors who’ve extended countless resources and opportunities, to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude,” added Mathews-Duran. “I am very excited to see what is to come of my future.”

Following her win, Mathews-Duran was also invited to participate in ACFW’s Couture and Avante Guarde designers showcase at the close of the program on Feb. 17. 

View Cynthia Mathews-Duran’s Atlantic City Fashion Week designs here (photos by Edwin Alvarado) and here (photos by Pixilens). View Elizabeth Wright’s Atlantic City Fashion Week collection here. 

Brookdale fashion students will compete once again on March 19 during the 2nd annual Rags to Runway Fashion Show, hosted in New Brunswick. For more information click here.

Brookdale students and employees are also invited to attend the Brookdale Fashion Club’s 2018 Fashion Show in the Student Life Center in Lincroft on March 28. For more information visit the Student Life and Activities website.

Learn more about Brookdale’s fashion merchandising program here

[Feature photo: Cynthia Mathews-Duran stands on the runway at Atlantic City Fashion Week. Photo courtesy of Edwin Alvarado]