Columbia College Chicago Students Win Top Prizes at 2019 Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence

Fashion Design students take first and third place for their innovative and socially-conscious fashion designs.

CHICAGO—May 7, 2019. For a second year in a row, Columbia College Chicago Fashion Design students won top positions, including first place, in the Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence on April 26 at the Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage. The annual fundraising event hosted by the Driehaus Design Initiative celebrates the achievements of local emerging fashion talent.

Senior Molly Quinn won first place, earning the $7,500 cash prize, a lookbook photo shoot, and internship opportunities. Her collection featured the design potential of 3D printing in apparel, accessories, and jewelry. Carlos Osuna, also a senior, won third place for his creation of functional design for disabled consumers. Both students were recognized among 24 competitors from several other Chicago-area schools.

“Our students hit the two touchpoints of Columbia’s fashion vision: exploring both the growing intersection of fashion with technology and the expanding market for non-traditional fashion customers, particularly for individuals who are disabled, gender-fluid, plus-size, and culturally diverse,” said Colbey Reid, chair of Columbia’s Fashion Studies Department.

A panel of fashion industry experts judged the students’ capsule collections, including Vice President and General Manager of Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue Wendy Krimins. As the competition’s retailer partner, Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue will display Quinn’s winning collections.

“It was an honor to have my work displayed at the Driehaus Awards this year along with so many other talented designers from Chicago,” said Quinn. “This collection has been a process of many months of research, design, and experimentation. I thank all of the faculty at Columbia who have encouraged me to pursue the use of experimental textiles and technology. It’s really great to see it come together and have people react to it so positively.”

Columbia student Lindsay Holseo, who won first place at the Driehaus competition last year, created a collection in response to the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef, bringing awareness to the cause and to environmentally sustainable textiles and manufacturing processes.

“It’s heartening that many of our students participating in this competition during the last few years have focused on social changes that impact fashion and are earning recognition for their efforts to build fashion’s future,” added Reid.

Earlier this year, Columbia students earned $27,500 in total national scholarships for their fashion design, merchandising, and marketing skills. Osuna, along with Alexia Densmore and Kathryn Williams, earned $2,500 from the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation. The YMA/Fashion Scholarship Foundation awarded $5,000 each to Cassidy Hofschulte, Rhyarna McBride, Kendall McDermott, and Andrea Menendez for their respective case studies on the globalization of fashion.

Columbia’s Fashion Studies program prepares students for a rapidly changing world of fashion. It offers a collaborative workshop-style learning environment, balancing innovative, inclusive, and eco-conscious design creativity with business acumen, trendspotting, and multi-media know-how. More information about the program and its national and international opportunities is available here.


Columbia College Chicagois a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,000 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


Anjali Julka