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2020 Threads Challenge Theme:

The Four Elements Challenge

In light of the current Coronavirus Pandemic you may be wondering if this Challenge competition will actually occur this year.

Here is a message from Threads’ Senior Technical Editor Carol Fresia:

 “We at Threads understand that the current public health situation may present obstacles for the members in completing an entry for this year’s challenge. Further, we understand that it’s possible we may not be able to meet at conference this fall to see the garments in person—but let us hope that’s not the case! We will plan something so the challenge can go on, even if we need to call the finalist garments into the office and do our final judging there, rather than at conference.I am aware that some members may not have access to materials as easily as before, and if that is the case, I encourage them to make do with stash materials or things they can find safely and locally. They should definitely include an explanation in their artist’s statement, so we understand how they creatively solved their problems. We hope the members can take advantage of this period of “isewlation” to come up with exciting entries.”

You can also access all the information concerning the Challenge, including the Intent to Enter form below.

Wouldn’t it be fun if we had a 100% member participation in the 2020 Challenge as a result of our extra time due to the need to keep safe by observing the Shelter At Home orders.


Threads challenges the members of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals to create a garment or two-piece ensemble inspired by one of the four classical elements: earth, air, water, or fire. These elements figure in many areas of Western culture, including literature, medicine, astrology, and alchemy. They have been linked to notions of temperament, character, colors, shapes, the humors, the seasons, the cardinal directions, even various gemstones and animals.

Select one of the four elements, and interpret it through your choice of fabrics, embellishment, and sewing techniques. Each aspect of your design should be meaningful and well-rendered, as we’ll be judging based on aspects of construction and your overall concept. We’re looking for a garment or cohesive ensemble suited for the occasion of your choice. Your look can be a dress, jumpsuit, or any combination of two garments intended to be worn together as a complete outfit.

In your artist’s statement, please indicate which element you have chosen and explain how you have represented it in your work. We encourage you to engage your imagination and your best sewing skills—and because you’re members of ASDP, we know you’ll be in your element.

Challenge Terms & Schedule:

The Challenge is open to formal, emeritus, and retired members with at least one year of continuous membership in the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals. Entrants must maintain their membership in good standing throughout the entire Challenge process, from submission of Intent to Enter through publication of winning garments by the magazine. The winner of Best Overall is asked to serve as a judge for the next year's challenge, and therefore cannot enter.

If you are currently a student, intern or friend of ASDP and would like to change membership categories so you can enter, contact the VP of Membership at

Important Dates to Remember:

April 10, 2020: Intent to Enter form and fees submitted online by 11:59 PM EDT. 

April 30, 2020: Entry Number(s) sent to Entrant via email. First round submissions will be handled electronically so please add to your safe list and save all Challenge related emails.

August 10, 2020: First round entry submissions are due 11:59 PM EDT as registered on the Challenge inbox. Complete the Challenge Submission Form online. You will be attaching your photos, and Artist Statement in the form. 

September 15, 2020: Notification of status of all entries by email.

October 9, 2020: Finalist entries are due at Conference for final judging.

October 10, 2020: Winners will be announced at Conference at Runway Fashion Show and Member Showcase.

Threads Challenge Documents:

2020 Threads Challenge Garment Submission Form

The Four Elements Challenge Guidelines and Schedule

Challenge Submission Requirements

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