Interior Design Student Group Participates in IIDA Annual Fundraiser

DCTC Design Connexion hits the runway in Fusion + Fashion 2008

On November 9, 2007, students and graduates from the Interior Design program at Dakota County Technical College participated in the Fusion + Fashion fundraising event hosted by the Northland Chapter of the International Interior Design Associationat the Historical Landmark Center in St. Paul.

The event, which was attended by more than 850 people, raised money for Ronald McDonald House, a charitable program that offers a restful place to stay for families of gravely ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.

DCTC Design Connexion, a student group composed of around 50 current interior design students, took part in the fundraiser. The group will be featured in a Seen + Scene piece in the February 2008 issue of Metro, a lifestyle magazine covering the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Anne Farniok, an interior design instructor who attended the event with fellow instructors Katharine Huus and Coco Early, enjoyed the fundraiser’s format, which featured a competition that resembled the Bravo reality series, Project Runway—but with a twist. Competitors redirected their specialized skills to create high-fashion outfits made from metal, upholstery, floor tiles, and other  unlikely materials—materials customarily found in the arena of interior design.

“The Fusion + Fashion event is a brilliant way for interior designers to showcase their diverse talents while raising money for a worthy cause,” Farniok said. “I am so proud of our students, their teamwork, and participation in this truly professional event.”

Eric Lovestrand, vice president of forums and chairman of Fusion events for the Northland Chapter of the IIDA, agreed with Farniok, noting that the fundraiser elevated public awareness of the chapter’s work with area communities.

“The fashion show is unique,” Lovestrand said. “We like to get the community involved and everyone has a wonderful time. The event is high-intensity and amazingly fun.”

Widely active in the interior design field, DCTC Design Connexion represents several organizations, including the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality, and the American Society of Interior Designers.

The Interior Design program prepares graduates to become professional interior designers. Students acquire the knowledge base and skill set needed to design interior environments that are both functional and beautiful. Versed in design theories, interior materials, building codes, and manual and computer aided drafting, students conceive and execute high-quality design solutions for residential and commercial projects.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for interior designers is projected to grow faster than average, increasing 19 percent between 2006 and 2016. The BLS also states that the median annual wage for interior designers in the U.S. reached $48,000 in mid-2006.

According to, the median wage is currently more than $22 per hour for interior designers in Minnesota. As of February 2008, put the median annual salary above $51,300 for top earners in the Twin Cities metro area.