The Interior Design Program at Brookdale Community College is proud to announce they received the Runway Street to Chic Award in the 2023 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Fashion Meets Finish Competition recently held at the Naimoli Tennis Center in Newark, NJ. 

The competition challenged fourteen design teams to create a couture garment using materials typically used in interior design projects. This year’s theme was We Make Space. The Brookdale team was paired with industry partners Via Seating and Tarkett to utilize their materials. 

Eight men and women with model and award in hand.The Brookdale team, led by Adjunct Instructors Jesse Cermak, Interior Design and Larissa Eteson, Architecture and Interior Design, Professor of Interior Design and Department Chair Celeste Chirichello, and students Emily Pulka, Aubree Gergich, Jolie Barsoum, Alexis Spinnato, Norhan Evripidou, Rija Nayyer, and Annaiz Morales, impressed the judges with their innovative and stylish creation. 

“Our team created a four-part look interpreting our view of space,” said Emily Pulka, announcing the team’s concept to the judges. “One small step for woman, one large leap for earth. From street to space and back again, we are the brave astronauts who push the limits. Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, Sally Ride in 1983, and Christina Koch in 2023. We take up space for ourselves and for others. In a deconstructed space suit puffer, a celestial black hole dress, and a headpiece in the phases of the moon, the satellite of the moon, a symbol of femininity. There is no moon dust without us.”   

Fashion Meets Finish is an event organized by the PA/NJ/DE Chapter of the IIDA to celebrate the creativity and talent of interior designers. The event was filled with high fashion, great music, creativity, and good company. 

The Pre-Party included live music, drinks, passed hors d’oeuvres, and the opportunity to connect with industry peers. The Main Event on center stage was a fashion show of the teams’ one-of-a-kind garments when Aubree Gergich was the essence of cosmic beauty as she captured the judges’ attention while modeling Brookdale’s design. The event ended with an After Party where guests could reflect on the amazing creations. 

“Participating in competitions organized by Brookdale’s Interior Design Student Association which encompasses three network organizations, IIDA, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), provides a gateway for students to propel their career forward,” said Chirichello. “Engaging beyond the confines of the classroom is crucial for personal and professional growth.” 

The judges for the competition were Dawn Del Russo, CEO & Founder of Bella Dawn, Mildred Giron, Sr. Project Manager of the Americas for L’Oreal, and Ryan Cruz, Co-founder and Head of Creative and Product Development of Muvez Footwear. 

“Brookdale’s win in this year’s IIDA Fashion Meets Finish Competition feels monumental,” said Cermak. “Not only will it help open doors for those students who participated, but it also shows the positive influence that cross-disciplinary design thinking can have on various industries – blurring the lines between interior design, fashion, and beyond.“  

IIDA Model on runway in black