Columbia College Chicago Fashion Students Take Top Awards at Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence

Fashion Design students Lindsay Holeso (left) and Rachel Radulescu (center right). Photo: Melissa Gamble.

CHICAGO (May 9, 2018)Columbia College Chicago Fashion Design students were awarded top prizes, including first place, at this year's Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence. The awards, which took place on April 27 in Chicago, are an annual fundraising event hosted by the Driehaus Design Initiative to celebrate the achievements of emerging fashion talent in Chicago.

Five Columbia student designers were selected to show their capsule collections on the runway, where their designs were judged by a panel of fashion industry experts that included Creative Director of Mignonette Bridal Kpoene’ Kofi-Nicklin and Vice President and General Manager of Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue Wendy Krimins.

Columbia student Lindsay Holeso earned first place, which included a $7,500 cash prize, a look book photo shoot, and internship opportunities. This year’s retailer partner, Neiman Marcus, presented a Distinguished Designer Award to the designer whose collection best represents the store’s brand. Student Rachel Radulescu received the Neiman Marcus Distinguished Designer Award and student Courtney Woodard received an honorable mention. Both Holeso and Radulescu will display their winning collections at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue.

“For the second time this year, our students swept the top awards in a competition, this time taking two first place prizes and an honorable mention in the Driehaus Design Initiative's Awards for Fashion Excellence,” said Colbey Reid, PhD, chair of Columbia’s Fashion Studies Department.

In January, two student teams from Columbia were awarded scholarships for their fashion and marketing skills when they earned the top positions in the National Retail Foundation’s 2018 Student Challenge Competition.

“Thanks to their scrappy ingenuity, it's becoming clear that our Fashion Studies program is where students learn to exercise creative design thinking balanced with business-savvy execution. Industry insiders and audiences are responding with equal enthusiasm to their work,” said Reid.


Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit


Danielle Wilcox
Columbia College Chicago