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Civic Impact

Designing the Future: student design competition open until May 30

Entries from a previous competition featured at the Design Exchange

With nearly 800 entries every year, the Sears DX Canadian High School Design Competition represents the future of design in Ontario.

Students across the province can enter their work in five categories—fashion design, architecture or interiour design, industrial design, costume design, and graphic design—and under the guidance of an art or design teacher, or as their own independent submission. “Teachers have said how much they value this competition,” says Huard. “They see a real focus and commitment from the students, and they’re producing really high-quality work.” Winning students receive up to five hundred dollars in prize money, as well as the opportunity to show their work at the Design Exchange and receive mentorship from an emerging Canadian designer.

Students answer a design challenge in each category. This year, industrial designers were asked to create their own food truck, while fashion designers will be working on garments that can withstand all four seasons and still be fashionable. The costume design students’ challenge is Macbeth, and is presented in partnership with the Sears Drama Festival, the popular province-wide drama competition for high school students. “We’re three years in the partnership, and we see some great stuff coming out of that,” says Huard.

The Sears DX Competition is one of the few arts contests focused exclusively on design, and winners at the high school level often go on to continued success. “We try to assist young designers with opportunities at every stage of development,” says Huard. Past winners at the high school level have excelled at university- and emerging-artist competitions as well. Some of the credit goes to the mentorship program that is part of the prize, which connects winners with Canadian designers and professionals at Sears Canada.

Entries can be sent to the Design Exchange before the competition closes May 30. “It gives students a real insight into what’s expected in design, but it’s not scary,” says Huard. “The challenges are fun and creative and they’re meant to be inclusive.”
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