Each year, Ecorazzi attends hundreds of events all over the country to give you an inside look at the latest and greatest green trends. Not a bad gig, eh? While we try to hit as many new celebrations as possible, there are those few annual events we never miss — one of which being the Cool vs. Cruel Awards Ceremony presented by The Humane Society of the United States and the Art Institutes.

The annual challenge asks Art Institutes students from fashion programs across the country, as well as Canada, to creatively reinterpret and replace pieces from designers that use fur. This year, the competition challenged students to improve upon the inhumane designs of Zac Posen, Giorgio Armani, Burberry Prorsum, or Thakoon.

Valeria Krasavina from Miami International University of Art and Design was honored with the first place prize by a panel of 13 designers, including Marc Bouwer, John Bartlett, Victoria Bartlett and Nick Friedberg and will receive an all expense-paid, weeklong internship with a celebrated fur-free designer.

“I am honestly amazed and thrilled about winning – I’m very proud of my garment and feel it represented my vision and my style, but to have industry professionals select my design as the best in the country is truly indescribable,” said Krasavina.

The Cool vs. Cruel Awards Ceremony was held at the posh Bowery Hotel and featured special guest DJ. Krasavina who created the perfect mood for the high-energy crowd of fur-free fashionistas. But the annual event isn’t just about having a good time; the message behind the campaign is a serious one.

“Cool vs. Cruel is all about our determination and relentless focus to put an end to the fur industry,” said CEO & President of The Humane Society of the United States Wayne Pacelle. “The beauty with this event is that we’re bringing new people in and really trying to create a groundswell within the fashion industry to eliminate fur.”

Although fur continues to be popular on the runway, Pacelle reports that now more than ever, a growing number of young designers are recognizing the brutalities involved in the fur trade and are turning away from the industry. Which, as you can imagine, is great news to us!

Interested in finding out more about Cool vs. Cruel? Scoot on over to HumaneSociety.org to get all the details and learn how you can get involved.