Two Marist Seniors Team Up for Fashion Design Competition on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America

Marist College

New York Fashion Week took on new meaning for Marist fashion design majors Gabrielle Amaturo and Kate Norkeliunas, who were selected to compete in an electrifying two-week design competition for ABC-TV’s Good Morning America. The two were tasked with “upcycling” an old wedding dress, competing against teams from Montclair State University and Philadelphia University.  The students’ work was judged by fashion industry insiders Joe Zee and Leanne Marshall. The Marist team’s finished product, an ambitiously designed ensemble that can be worn together or as separate pieces, will be revealed on a segment scheduled to air on November 24.

Image of two Marist students on the set of Good Morning America.

Contestants were given two weeks and a whopping $50 budget to upcycle the former wedding gown into a new, fashionable, and useable item or items. The concept of upcycling consists of transforming a useless or unwanted product into a new product of better quality and with zero waste. They used all-organic ingredients, including vegetable-based dye, to create their design. 

The Marist creation was based on the students’ desire to be as sustainable as possible and reflected their contrasting styles. Norkeliunas’s approach to design is athletic and comfortable, while Amaturo has a funkier, more risk-taking style. Said Norkeliunas, “This was a true collaborative process, and I personally learned so much about myself. The finished product reflects us as designers and reflects our understanding of our target consumer.” Amaturo added, “The final result is the ultimate in upcycling because the pieces can be worn together or separately. They are mix-and-match, comfortable, and chic.” 

“I watched Gabrielle and Kate blend their visions together in a collaborative process that resulted in something totally new and spectacular,” said Professional Lecturer of Fashion Design & Merchandising Juan Manuel Olivera-Silvera. “Looking at it now, it’s hard to believe that someone once wore this as their wedding gown.  These young women have represented Marist and our Fashion Program extremely well!” 


Norkeliunas (who is from Naples, Florida) and Amaturo (from Rye, New York) were well prepared for the intensity of the GMA competition because of the solid grounding they’ve received in Marist’s Fashion Program and the real-world internships they’ve completed. The curriculum balances the creative aspects of design concept, drawing, color and rendering, and collection development, with technical education in sewing, textiles, patternmaking, and draping. It applies state-of-the-art technology and computer-aided design and delivers fashion industry costing factors. For their senior capping project, Norkeliunas and Amaturo are each designing an apparel collection to be shown at the College’s annual Silver Needle Runway Show in May. 

Marist’s Fashion Program is unique in that students receive a broad liberal arts-based education while completing internships in the fashion industry and gaining valuable hands-on experiences. For example, Marist has a partnership with designer Francesca Liberatore, and fashion students helped produce her runway show on September 10 as part of New York Fashion Week. Liberatore, who is based in Italy, also taught an intensive design workshop this semester at the College’s Poughkeepsie, New York campus. Marist’s campus in Florence, Italy is known for its emphasis on art, fashion, design, and museum studies. 

To learn more about the Marist’s Fashion Program, visit

About Marist

Located on the banks of the historic Hudson River and at its Florence, Italy branch campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Its mission is to “help students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Marist is consistently recognized for excellence by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures and The Best 381 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (9th Best Regional University/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. Though now independent, Marist remains committed to the ideals handed down from its founders, the Marist Brothers: excellence in education, a sense of community, and a commitment to service. Marist educates approximately 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students in 47 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees.

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