Calling all fashionistas! I’ve got a fabulous fashion event for you to attend this Thursday, December 1st at 7:00pm in downtown Raleigh called Cotton Couture 2011. This fashion exhibition and competition is a year-long collaboration between the Fashion and Textile Management program at NC State University and Cotton Incorporated. Faculty, staff and students have been diligently working to showcase fashions designed and produced using cotton fabrics as a major component of their outfits. Beginner, intermediate and advanced students will compete for over $6,000 in prize money. Think of it as the Academy Awards for emerging fashion designers! Yours truly is a co-host for the night’s events, so pardon the shameless plug.

I’ve made several trips to the College of Textiles state-of-the-art facilities over the course of the past few months where everything from clothing to upholstery to kayaks is produced. There are labs of all varieties–dying, weaving, spinning, non-woven (think disposable hand wipes), knitting, and physical testing (to ensure performance specifications). The fashion studio is filled with sewing machines and bust forms and students busy creating one-of-a-kind designs. These student designers are the runway names of the future. Check out the November 1st Fashion Plate column on Chapel Hill native and COT graduate Leigh LaVange who once participated in the Cotton Couture show and is now working in New York City’s fashion industry.

Take a trip to downtown Raleigh Thursday night for fashion, music and a slient auction to benefit InterAct. The festivities start at 6:00pm with a cash bar and silent auction at the Fletcher Opera Theater in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The fashion show extravaganza starts at 7:00pm. Hope to see you there. If not, I’ll tell you all about it in a future column.

Stay tuned for The Fashion Plate’s ideas for December party wear and a holiday gift guide in upcoming columns. Share your comments below.