The Eastman Naia Design Challenge has concluded and Sarah Stevenson, a sophomore from Colorado Springs, CO., was selected as the winner. With the win, Stevenson takes home a $2,500 scholarship toward her 2018-19 tuition. She prevailed over 12 other sophomore and junior fashion design students. Morgan Stengel, a junior from Brentwood, Tenn., was the runner up.

In the Eastman Naia Design Challenge, students in O’More’s Fashion Design program created fashion-forward garments using fabric composed of Naia, a cellulosic yarn made from wood pulp and derived exclusively from sustainably managed and certified forests. Designs were juried by Eastman representatives, and industry professionals. Among the factors taken into consideration were versatility, comfort, innovation, and the application of surprise elements such as hardware, trims and functional embellishments.

Runner up, Stengel, incorporated hardware elements into her innovative submission. Stevenson’s design execution set her apart from the competition. In terms of appearance and construction, her garment exhibited exceptional construction and sophistication. “I really wanted to focus on the unique fluidity of the green fabric and the texture of the black,” she said. “The stretch allowed me to get the perfect fit and the weight made it comfortable to work with.” She prepped for the competition by studying historical fashions. “I tried to get into the heads of the people who actually wore garments that, by today’s standard, would seem ridiculous,” said Stevenson. “Some things I ask myself are ‘would this be comfortable to wear? If not is it worth the discomfort? How am I surprising my audience with this piece?’”

The garments created for the Eastman Naia Design Challenge were showcased publicly on the runway at the 2018 O’More College Fashion Show on May 10 at the Franklin Theatre. This was the show’s first appearance in the revered venue and its final run in Franklin before entering its next chapter when the college merges with Belmont University.

This marked the second year that Eastman and O’More have partnered to promote the application of an environmentally friendly fiber. Introduced at the Interfilière Paris fair in January 2017, Naia is a poised, new reflection of a long-standing fiber that enables luxurious, comfortable and easy-to-care-for fabrics and garments. More information on the Eastman Naia Design Challenge is available online at

Design challenge winner, Sarah Stevenson, with her
winning design

Stevenson's winning design

Runner up, Morgan Stengel's, design

Paige Moore fitting her model

The designs from the challenge were lined up and
ready to be judged

One of the student's designs being inspected during