Nomi's Design Competition Winner, 2015

Kristen Wong, a fashion design student at Marist College from Massachusetts, is no stranger to the problem of unethical labor. Kristen’s grandmother told her stories of living in America when she was younger; her grandmother worked hard to raise a family, took night classes to learn English, and worked as a seamstress. Though her grandmother sewed luxury clothing worth hundreds of dollars as a seamstress, she didn’t receive fair wages and earned very little per garment that she completed. So when Kristen heard about the Nomi Network X Marist College Design Competition, a competition where Marist College students can design a new Nomi garment, she remembered her grandmother’s story and decided to enter. She says she “hoped that through this, my designs will mean something to women everywhere affected by these unethical treatments of workers.”

While her family experiences influenced Kristen’s interest in entering the competition, Indian culture influenced her design. The unisex T-shirt she designed, complete with a pocket, has a sari-like wrap around it, reminiscent of the common Indian garment. The design on the T-shirt blends Nomi Network’s logo with traditional woodblock printing. Finally, the color schemes of both versions of the T-shirt reflect common colors of Indian clothing. Kristen wanted to produce a garment reflective of Indian culture to “embody the Nomi message,” highlighting the beauty of the culture from which the women in our India program come.

Kristen says that through this competition, she learned her own influence and abilities in bringing awareness and support to organizations like Nomi Network. When asked what the future looks like for her, Kristen says, “I hope to continually be involved with the Nomi Network and try to find a way to assist in helping to fight unethical labor and human trafficking… as part of being the next generation of designers in the fashion industry, I hope to make an impact when designing garments.” She wants to fight unethical labor and communicate to consumers the great value that each laborer has. This desire is right in line with what Nomi does; certified by the Fair Trade Federation, all of the women in our programs receive fair wages (in fact, they receive every penny from the clothes and products that are sold on In the very country Kristen modeled her designs after, work is being done to fight for the rights of laborers. We’re grateful to Kristen for her good work and example of using her talents to fight injustice, and we congratulate her on being the winner of our competition!

All images taken from Kristen's submission for the Nomi Network X Marist College Design Competition.


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