The seventh annual Gen Art Styles 2005 International Design Competition took place on May 17 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, with the evening's top honors going to Spain's The Avant for womenswear and the UK's Omar Kashoura for menswear.

Gen Art, the leading arts and entertainment organization dedicated to the promotion of emerging fashion designers, film makers, musicians and visual artists, received over 650 entries from 29 states and 26 foreign countries including Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Switzerland and India.

The field was narrowed down to 30 finalists by a panel of editors and retailers, including Sportswear International's own Christopher Blomquist. Judges of the finalists included designers Norma Kamali, Catherine Malandrino, Zang Toi; editors Mary Alice Stephenson and Brana Wolf; stylist Rebecca Weinberg; and supermodel Maggie Rizer.

The Barcelonian womenswear design team of The Avant trumped the competition with its clean lines and modernist sensibility, showing a track jacket with a tuxedo cutaway at the waist worn over a loose-fitting dress, and details such as a high-arching hemline in the back of a skirt and knee-high stirrups.

London, England's Omar Kashoura, who won the menswear category, combined New Romanticism with current rock n' roll influences with his tight-fitting futuristic silver jacket, Edwardian waistcoat, "Le Smoking"-styled asymmetric cardigan and jerkin-skinny bottoms.

Other awards handed out in the evening went to crafts-inspired Anrealage out of Tokyo for best avant garde, New York's Lulu Frost for accessories and Karolina Zmarlak for eveningwear, and South Carolina's Ashley Reid for environmental design concept. Tomer, who showed three-piece options for menswear, had the distinct honor of winning a booth at the next Project Global Trade Show.

With classic contemporary pieces dominating the field for womenswear and dressier pieces and tailoring a strong focus in menswear, designer Romain Kapadia's ensemble of a hunter's vest with multiple zips and shearling-collared jacket in stone layered over a sweater and shirt and washed-out denim stood out for its relevance to modern dressing.