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Karastan Teams with F.I.T. for Rug Design Competition

New York — Upscale area rug company Karastan and the Fashion Institute of Technology have teamed up to create a new student program aimed at designing a new area rug for the market.

The program, titled “New Views on Traditional,” challenges 35 upper division textiles and surface design majors in two classes to create a rug that will be produced and sold by Karastan, a division of Mohawk Industries.

“We're looking to a new generation of designers, helping to nurture their budding talents and discovering the emerging future stars of design,” said Elizabeth Miller, Karastan vp of design and style.

“At the same time, we're hoping to tap into the wellspring of new inspiration and bring a fresh and unique perspective to the traditional and classic styles that have been Karastan's signature for nearly 80 years,” she added.

Participating students are being encouraged to research Karastan's archives, visit local retailers and explore textiles, furniture and fashion trends as they develop their ideas for the rug, which will be made on Axminster looms.

Their concepts must factor in production of a rug measuring 9'-x-12' and employing 29 colors.

They are required to paint their final renderings in gouache for presentation on May 15 to a panel of judges comprised of faculty and industry professionals, including Miller and other Karastan marketing executives.

Four finalists will be chosen, each earning prize money. The student who earns the most votes will receive a $1,500 cash award and have his or her design produced as part of Karastan's assortment.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for our students,” said Deborah Hernandez, one of two course instructors, along with David Setlow, for the F.I.T. textile and surface design program. “The reality of developing a product that has commercial potential is an important experience for these youngsters,” said Hernandez. “We are grateful to Karastan for its sponsorship of our program and for its vision in recognizing the future talents we are cultivating at FIT.”

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