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UC Student's Five-Minute "Design Doodle" Wins National Contest

A "design doodle" she created during a few minutes’ break in her routine recently won UC fashion student Kelsey Fairhurst a trip to New York City complete with hotel stay, limousine transportation, red-dress fashion event and an opportunity to shop for fabrics for her senior collection.

Date: 4/10/2013 9:30:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by Kelsey Fairhurst

UC ingot   Even a five-minute “design doodle” can pay a big dividend if you happen to be a student in the University of Cincinnati’s top-ranked design programs.

That’s just what happened for UC fashion design senior Kelsey Fairhurst, 23, when she recently needed a break from heavy-duty work on her senior collection.
Kelsey Fairhurst's winning
Kelsey Fairhurst's winning "doodle."

When she took that break, she was thinking about a contest being sponsored by Diet Coke and The Heart Truth to promote heart health. So, Fairhurst somewhat absent mindedly assembled some items close to hand – her head phone ear buds, a right-angle ruler, a sketching pencil, an illustrator marker, a fine-tip pen, and a quickly cut paper heart – and placed them all on her light table. She then took a quick digital image of the artfully assembled articles and tweeted an instagram with the contest’s requested hashtag.

That was at the end of January, and in the next few days, she forgot about the incident until she learned that her “doodle” was one of five winners – out of 7,000 entries – in the #ShowYourHeart contest.

With that win, Fairhurst received a trip to New York City where she attended the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show as part of Fashion Week, traveling to and from the event via stretch limousine. She also received hotel accommodations and even a $250 gift card. The card came in handy in shopping for fabrics needed for her senior collection, which will be included in UC’s own annual runway fashion show on April 26.
Kelsey Fairhurst in New York
UC's Kelsey Fairhurst in New York during the trip she won thanks to her design skills.

Said Fairhurst, “The best part of winning the contest was just having my work recognized. As students, we always appreciate that whether in a public competition or our own fashion show.”

And she recalled, “The most challenging part for me was that I only had about 24 hours of free time during the trip to shop for fabrics to use in my senior collection. It was a very fast pace to make some crucial decisions that would affect my capstone project. I tell people that I just blacked out and bought anything that I thought I might use. I figure if I don’t use it now, I’ll use it later.”

The trip also allowed Fairhurst to return to New York where – during fall semester – she had had an internship at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), where she’d worked on graphic design projects as well as implementing social media and public relations efforts.

In fact, it was that internship that eventually led to her become aware of the #ShowYourHeart contest.

Fairhurst explained: “Hurricane Sandy hit while I was interning in New York, and we were without power at our apartment. But I still had to get design work done because the CFDA was working with its 400 members – designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Diane Von Furstenberg – to raise relief funds. So, I worked by candlelight to complete some of the needed designs.”

She happened to take a digital image of her work illuminated by that candlelight. She instagrammed that image to her personal account (Instagram handle: @kelseyfairhurst). CFDA re-instagrammed it to their account, which is when Diet Coke noted it and commented on it.
Working by candlelight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
On a New York internship, Kelsey Fairhurst worked by candlelight in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“When that happened,” according to Fairhurst, “I began following the Diet Coke twitter account. And because I was following their feed, I learned about the #ShowYourHeart contest, entered and eventually won.”