Fashion students are frustrated and upset at the last-minute cancellation of a highly anticipated shoe design contest the night before the winners were supposed to be announced.
Fashion design students had been invited to enter an original shoe design in a bid to win a two-day trip to New York City to visit the Sam Edelman design offices and showroom. The winner was to be announced when Sam Edelman himself visited Ryerson to talk to students Wednesday evening.
However, entrants found out Tuesday night in an email that both the contest and the visit had been cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
The email, sent from Edelman’s marketing team, instead invited entrants to bring their sketches to Sam Edelman’s Thursday night appearance at The Bay on Queen Street.
Rebecca Nixon, a representative of Edelman’s team, says that the lecture and contest had to be cancelled due to scheduling conflicts on Edelman’s side that made it impossible for Edelman to make it out to Toronto until Thursday.
“We’ve gone through all the submissions and we’ve contacted each [student] personally,” she says, assuring that Edelman’s team would do their best to arrange one-one-one time with any entrant who shows up Thursday night with their submission.
However, fourth-year fashion communication student Sarah Chang says that the email was “generic,” and that as soon as she read the message, she “knew that they had relegated us to a meet-and-greet and a crowd of anonymity.”
“I lost sleep on that design,” she says. “I skipped parts of my internship . To us, New York is the mecca of fashion, so a two-day trip is an amazing reward. To have that taken away from us – they should have given us a better explanation.”
The greatest disappointment, she says, is the loss of the chance to talk with a seasoned shoe designer, especially when she hopes to pursue a career in shoe design.
“I have to do my final thesis, I have to do internships – every minute counts. And all we get is a come meet us at Hudson Bay.”
Jeesun Lee, a third-year fashion design student, says that the contest only gave students a couple of weeks to come up with the design and that she worked for hours on hers. When she opened her email this morning and saw that the contest was cancelled, she was upset and disappointed with having gone to a lot of effort for nothing.
“I was really excited about the prize and the opportunity to see the design offices in New York,” she says. “I can’t use the design anymore… but I’m trying to think optimistically. At least I had the opportunity to design a shoe, which is not really my related specialty. I study clothes and garments.”
School of fashion chair Robert Ott said that the school was informed by Sam Edelman’s team Tuesday that the contest would not be able to go on.
“Of course students are disappointed,” he said in an email. “They were looking forward to hearing Mr. Edelman speak and meet with him afterwards. While this is regrettable, it is also understandable. Sometimes the best intentions don’t work out. However, we would love to have Mr. Edelman come at another time when he is back in Toronto.”
Sam Edelman is slated to appear Thursday night at The Bay on Queen Street for a meet-and-greet and autograph signing.