Rebecca Minkoff RM Edit

Back in July, we teamed up with Nordstrom and Tumblr to discover the next great artist, model and photographer. With over 120 million users, Tumblr has provided a means for young, artistic hopefuls to share their talents with a global audience — only this time, the industry greats were watching. In addition to Rebecca, the top-notch judging panel comprised of Founder and CEO of Tumblr, David Karp, and Executive Vice President of Designer Merchandising for Nordstrom, Jeffrey Kalinsky.

Over the course of a week, designers submitted their t-shirt and tote bag designs, and models and photographers sent in their best work.

On July 30, 2013, the winners were selected: designer Anjni Raol of California, photographer Anna Cone of New York, and model Sarah Cousins of North Carolina. Cash prizes were awarded to the three winners, but the real reward is one-of-a-kind exposure on a national stage. Tomorrow on September 6, Raol’s t-shirt design will walk our Spring 2014 runway show at New York Fashion Week and will be available for sale the same day exclusively at Nordstrom stores across the country and online at Nordstrom.com and RebeccaMinkoff.com – marking the first time an item walked the runway and will be available in stores the same day.

The winning photographer and model take the spotlight as part of the collaboration’s national campaign. Opting for a street-style look, Cone photographed Cousins donning Raol’s winning t-shirt and tote designs in the heart of downtown New York City – the quintessential Rebecca Minkoff backdrop.

We are excited to share the final campaign photos below.

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Learn more about the three winners in our Q&A below.

Tell us about yourself and how you got into modeling/photography/design.

Sarah: I’m a freshman in Design School at North Carolina State University studying Industrial Design. I never imagined I would model; it all started in April during my senior year in high school. I was approached in Whole Foods by a photographer that works with my current agency – we did a test shoot, the agency liked it, and I signed the next month. It all happened very quickly and I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity.
Anna: I took a photography class in college and fell in love. I have been working in the fashion photography industry in different ways since then, and am now shooting full time in New York.
Anjni: You could say falling into design was a planned accident. I wanted to get into the business side of retail. Instead, I took a chance as an assistant designer with a well known apparel brand. I always loved to draw and sketch and eventually taught myself photoshop and illustrator to enhance my drawing skills. Outside of design, I enjoy taking hip hop and Doonya dance classes. I’m also planning my wedding for later this year!

How did you hear about the competition with Rebecca Minkoff, Tumblr and Nordstrom and why did you decide to enter?

Sarah: I saw the ad when I was on Tumblr one evening. I had done a few shoots with some of my friends from high school so I just sent a few of those photos, but I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it.
Anna: A friend of mine who is a make up artist told me about the contest and suggested that I enter, and I am so happy that I did!
Anjni: I heard about this contest through the feed on Tumblr. I am a huge fan of Tumblr and Rebecca Minkoff! Not only does she have some of the best accessories but she is one of the first designers to understand and fully embrace different social media platforms to leverage her brand. I entered the competition to test new mediums and techniques I was working on.

What was your first reaction when you learned that you won?

Sarah: When I received an email saying I had been selected, I was getting ready to go out to dinner with my dad. I started screaming and then called my parents and my best friend. I’m pretty sure I read the email ten times because I could not comprehend what was happening. Even now it’s still a little surreal.
Anna: I was thrilled – it is such an exciting opportunity to work with two established and beloved brands such as Rebecca Minkoff and Nordstrom.
Anjni: I was shocked and had to re-read the email a few times over. Then I did a little happy-happy-joy-joy dance!

Anjni, tell us the inspiration and thought behind the design you submitted into the contest.

Anjni: After reading the theme guidelines, I started sketching elements of large diamonds and crystals along with different florals. The sharp geometric shapes of diamonds juxtaposed with soft flowers felt as if they symbolized the strong yet feminine characteristics of the Rebecca Minkoff girl.

Tell us about your experience shooting the Tumblr campaign.

Sarah: Anna was so much fun to work with. She’s incredibly sweet, talented, and also from North Carolina! It was crazy shooting on the streets of Chinatown with people rushing all around us and taking photos. My favorite part was the wardrobe though – I had to restrain myself from taking that white leather jacket home with me.
Anna: It was a fun day! It was great working with the Rebecca Minkoff team and Sarah – she was really sweet and also from my hometown, which was a crazy coincidence.

What was the thought and concept behind the shoot?

Anna: We wanted to do a street style shoot, and show off the winning designs in a fun and natural way. I photographed Sarah wearing Anjni’s designs in the heart of downtown New York City, which is the quintessential Rebecca Minkoff backdrop. This was an interesting departure from my normal editorial style: to shoot something more carefree and relaxed.

What is the most exciting part about winning this contest?

Sarah: The most exciting part of winning this contest was getting to see what goes on behind the scenes of shooting a national campaign. During the eight hours I was there I met some of the RM team, had amazing hair and makeup done, saw a completely different side of New York, wore amazing clothes and ate some really addicting sweet and spicy chips in the office.
Anna: I was excited that my work stood out among the other entries, and honored to be chosen by such an esteemed panel of judges as the winner.
Anjni: The most exciting part for me is the motivation. It has given me ample motivation to continue with my personal projects and other long-term career goals. As a South-Asian-American designer, I hope to inspire diversity in the fashion and design community. Plus, it’s super exciting to have my design walk the Rebecca Minkoff runway show!

Watch the Rebecca Minkoff x Tumblr T-shirt walk the runway in our livestream tomorrow at 3PM ET on rebeccaminkoff.com.

Shop the T-shirt and tote tomorrow in Nordstrom stores, nordstrom.com and rebeccaminkoff.com.