Columbia Earns Top Spot in L’Oréal Brandstorm U.S. Finals: Team Heads to International Semifinals for Second Consecutive Year

The Columbia team—Adapt by Lancôme—comprises Kaitlyn Horneck, Alba Cota, and Miranda Prater (left to right).The Columbia team—Adapt by Lancôme—comprises Kaitlyn Horneck, Alba Cota, and Miranda Prater (left to right).
Fashion and Communication students from Columbia College Chicago pitch a product to empower inclusive beauty at L’Oréal Brandstorm 2022 and are recognized for their stellar work. Public voting between May 9 and 15 will help determine winners of the semifinals.

Columbia College Chicago is pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, a Columbia team has won a top spot at the U.S. finals for L’Oréal Brandstorm and will advance to the international semi-finals. Columbia’s team—named Adapt by Lancôme—comprises students from both Fashion Studies and Communication. Team members are Alba Cota (Fashion Merchandising), Kaitlyn Horneck (Advertising with an Art Direction concentration), and Miranda Prater (Fashion Merchandising). Of the 6,400 students from 220 schools participating in the U.S., only 18 students—six teams—earned this honor, with Columbia’s team being one of them.

In the L’Oréal Brandstorm’s international semi-finals, teams from around the globe will compete. In this round, projects will be judged by L’Oréal global executives and employees and will include a public vote. L’Oréal will invite the final winning team of L’Oréal Brandstorm 2022 to their headquarters in Paris where team members will participate in an intrapreneurship and promote their project within the company.

The L’Oréal Brandstorm 2022 is a worldwide innovation competition open to everyone up to 30 years of age. This year’s mission: Disrupt Beauty 2030—To create the beauty that moves the world.  Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, L’Oréal Brandstorm asked entrants to choose a track from the following options: inclusion, green, and tech. They were then charged to create a track project. Columbia’s team followed the inclusion track, for which they were asked to imagine a breakaway product or service to empower inclusive beauty.

The Adapt by Lancôme team pitched a product to supplement Lancôme makeup for people with hand dexterity challenges. The grip style components attach to specific Lancôme products and allow the user ease of use. In addition, the team offered two beauty brush styles with bendable handles, also for ease of use.

“Our project is about making all people, no matter their ability, feel beautiful,” Prater says. “We want to make sure that everyone has access to beauty products that suit them and their needs, and I think that’s what makes our project stand out. It's innovative, it's inclusive, it's sustainable, so I think we have something really special.”

As part of the pitch, students also developed international plans for advertising, social media, public relations, influencer marketing, digital media alignments, and strategic partnerships as well as plans for additional product development and global market expansion.

Each student brought to the team their unique skill set, an experience they found rewarding. “I really enjoyed working with this team consisting of different majors and concentrations. We all used our knowledge and different skills to come together and create something extraordinary,” Horneck says. “We all had the same goal in mind and steadily worked to achieve it together.

Dana Connell, an associate professor in Fashion Studies, and Peg Murphy, an associate professor in the Communication Department, helped guide team members throughout the project and prepared them for their final pitch.

“It has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. It has been stressful, a moment full of new knowledge, a path of development, something we never expected, and an amazing experience in our careers,” Cota says. “To have the opportunity as a student to learn from a well-known brand in the industry might be one of the most amazing feelings as we are just starting. It is a path where you see dreams might really come true.” 

As part of the competition, L’Oréal invites the public to vote for their favorite pitches between May 9 and 15.

View Columbia’s presentation and vote today.