On November 11th 2008, Ann Watson, VP Fashion Director from Henri Bendel made a presentation to BFA Fashion Design Seniors unveiling the opportunity to design the iconic Henri Bendel bag and launching the Henri Bendel Accessories Award. Five finalists (Dehne Chibras, Young (Chris) Choi, Rachel Cohen, Samantha Sleeper, and Nanae Takata) were selected to work with the merchandizing team to produce samples of their designs during December / January. In April panel of industry judges selected Nanae Takata as the grand-prize winner. She received a prize of $10,000 along with the opportunity to have her design branded as the “Henri Bendel/Parsons Bag,” and adopted to be sold at retail. Runner up Samantha Sleeper received $5,000. The winning bag launched at Henri Bendel on Tuesday, November 3rd 2009.
September 23rd, 2009 Representatives from Henri Bendel presented the contest parameters to BFA seniors. Students were given an overview of the history of the store and asked to submit sketches, mood and fabric boards for consideration. Ji Yoon Han, Seung Yeon Jee and Benyam Assefa were selected as this year’s winners to have their bag sampled. They are working closely with the H.B merchandising team to develop tech-packs and move through the production process. One grand prize-winner will receive $5,000, the first runner-up receives $3,000 and the second runner-up receives $2,000. The Grand-prizewinner will have their winning design branded as the “Henri Bendel/Parsons bag” and sold in Henri Bendel store(s) with associated press and event launch party at the New York store.